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Rugby World Cup 2023: World Rugby apologises for crowd 'chaos' before England win

England celebrate after being awarded a penalty against Argentina
England beat Argentina 27-10 in their opening World Cup fixture

World Rugby apologised to fans and said it is "taking steps to improve access" after the chaotic scenes outside the Stade de Marseille before England's World Cup match against Argentina.

Delays getting into the stadium meant many fans missed the start of England's 27-10 win.

Ex-England hooker Brian Moore described the scenes as "beyond shambolic".

"We would like to apologise to fans impacted by yesterday's access challenges," World Rugby said.

"We are working hard to enhance the experience for all visiting Marseille for Rugby World Cup 2023."

On Saturday, World Rugby said it had launched an investigation into the events and a statement released on Sunday listed the changes the governing body would be making to "reassure fans visiting Marseille" for the tournament.

The changes include deploying more volunteers to welcome and direct fans to the correct entry points, increasing announcements on public transport to advise supporters on using the right metro stops, and opening the stadium plaza three hours before kick-off.

World Rugby also said it would communicate key information directly to ticket holders, including gate opening times, entry points and about transport to the stadium.

Speaking about the scenes at the stadium, England fan Pierre told BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast: "It wasn't good. The main entrance to the whole stadium is one funnel, where it was just chaos."

France's organisation of major sporting events is under scrutiny, given the scenes before and after the 2022 Champions League final at the Stade de France, which Liverpool lost 1-0 to Real Madrid, and with Paris also hosting the 2024 Olympics.

Liverpool fans were kettled into dangerous crushes before last year's Champions League final and sprayed with teargas by police as kick-off was delayed by 36 minutes - and fans were also attacked by gangs as they left the match.

Officials initially blamed Liverpool supporters but later apologised as an independent panel found Uefa and the French authorities responsible for the near "mass fatality catastrophe".

Prior to the Rugby World Cup, France's sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said the country had "learned lessons" from that episode.

However, some supporters at the ground in Marseille on Saturday claimed on social media that they were concerned for their safety as they queued to get in.

"The organisation at the Marseille stadium was beyond shambolic," Moore wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

England fan Pierre added on BBC Radio 5 Live: "It reminded me a little bit of the footage for the Champions League match in Paris that Liverpool were in. We were in the queue for over an hour and couldn't move.

"There were kids, people on crutches. There was no communication whatsoever, couldn't get any signal.

"We were trying to find out online if the match was going to be postponed or not, just couldn't get any news. It was bizarre, really bizarre."