Scotland to face Ireland and hosts Japan in 2019 World Cup
- Author: Julie Sanders May 18, 2017,
May 18, 2017, 2:51
Once again the 2003 champions have been drawn in the competition's toughest pool, facing heavyweight showdowns with France and Argentina alongside two matches against qualifiers, most likely to be the U.S. and Samoa.
France are showing signs of considerable improvement under new head coach Guy Noves, and Argentina are consistent top-drawer performers at World Cup tournaments.
Now transformed under the leadership of Eddie Jones and winners of back-to-back Six Nations titles, England were paired with European rivals France and band three powerhouses Argentina during the 10 May draw in Kyoto. "I need to pray really hard", he added.
However, he insisted England would be ready to exorcise the demons of their disastrous 2015 campaign, when they became the first host team to crash out at the pool stage after being drawn with Wales, Australia, Fiji and Uruguay.
Champions New Zealand drawn in Pool B with South Africa, Italy, Africa 1 and the victor of the Repechage.
Springbok coach Allister Coetzee is not perturbed after his team was drawn in the same pool as world champions New Zealand for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. Incidentally, Wales will face Australia in a repeat of that tournament in 2019.
Romania are now in the "Europe 1" slot but qualification will not be determined until next year's Rugby Europe Championship.
"What we [the All Blacks] have learnt over the last few tournaments is to take what's in front of you and give it a crack".
"We've got two very big games in our pool against France and Argentina so it's great preparation for getting to the final stages".
"To win the World Cup you have to win seven games".
"That frustration can build up and what we need to make sure is that we create an environment where the players are comfortable with their situation".
Should the Wallabies advance from Pool D, they will face the runners-up from Pool D - most likely France or Argentina and possibly England.
World Rugby weren't clear on the breakdown of the knockout format last night but have previously said the structure will be the same as 2015.
"Everything we do, every game we play and every day we train is aimed at continuously improving and is focused on our ultimate goal of winning the World Cup".
The remaining eight teams - which will be determined via a global qualification process that involves more than 83 teams and which began on March 5, 2016, when Jamaica defeated Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 48-0 - were divided into two further bands.
The other two members of the pool have yet to be decided, but one will be a European team such as Romania or Germany, and the other will be the victor of a play-off between the third team in the Pacific Nations Cup (possibly Tonga) and another more lowly-ranked European team.
"I think having South Africa there is going to be fantastic, it is going to guarantee that we will have to be at our best right from the start".
The World Cup runs from 20 September to 2 November 2019.