Rugby World Cup draw in Japan announced

The action gets underway on September 20 2019 and ends with the final on November 2.

Pool B: New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Africa 1, repechage victor.

STEVE HANSEN REACTED to New Zealand being drawn against South Africa at the 2019 Rugby World Cup by stating "if you're going to win the thing you've got to play all the good teams".

"Strong forward play, they've got some gas out wide and between now and 2019 we'll learn a bit more about them".

Ireland and Scotland were pooled together with hosts Japan at Wednesday's draw, which took place in the Kyoto State Guest House.

Should the Wallabies, as expected, advance from Pool D, they will face the runners-up from Pool D - most likely France or Argentina and possibly England.

Then, they faced Australia, England, Fiji and Uruguay and reached the quarter-finals in second place behind the Wallabies at the expense of the host nation.

Wednesday's draw could complicate Jones's oft-repeated vow to dethrone top-ranked New Zealand, who have won the World Cup three times.

"Japan obviously made a memorable impact at the World Cup two years ago, beating South Africa, and will have tremendous support going into the tournament. By the time the World Cup comes around, any one of those sides could win", Hansen said.

"No one's going to die", added Jones, who has led England to back-to-back Six Nations titles since taking over from Stuart Lancaster.

Reigning champions New Zealand will have Southern Hemisphere rivals South Africa for company in Pool B along with Six Nations whipping boys Italy, who it must be said could not have faced a more hard draw given the calibre of the All Blacks and the Springboks at the World Cup.

Wales will also face qualifiers from Oceania 1 and Americas 2, which could be Fiji and Canada.

"We are pretty delighted with the pool", said Foster. "It's very hard. We will look to build confidence and find the solidarity to get as close as possible to maximum strength at the World Cup".

Australia head coach Michael Cheika, England head coach Eddie Jones and South Africa head coach Allister Coetzee attend a news conference after the Rugby World Cup 2019 pool draw.

Considered New Zealand's greatest threat after equalling the All Blacks' tier-one world-record 17 Test wins before falling earlier this year to Ireland, England will again have a tough time emerging from the group stages.

  • Julie Sanders