Springboks, All Blacks in Group B

Lynette Rowe
May 19, 2017

Conor O'Shea's Italy are also in Pool B but would be doing miraculously to get past either the All Blacks or Springboks.

As the fourth-ranked team in the world, Ireland were drawn in the top pool and managed to avoid some potentially hard teams in the second and third pools, boosting their prospects of reaching the semi-finals for the first time.

Things may become a bit trickier following the pool stages.

Hansen appeared to play down English hopes of knocking the All Blacks off their perch as rugby's top side, after the 2003 champions drew France and Argentina among their pool rivals in 2019.

"To get through to the final we're going to have to be bulletproof".

Not all of the teams know who they will be playing just yet though, as the qualification process hasn't quite finished. They will also face one of the trio of Pacific Island teams.

Jones sees the Wallabies' unexpected passage to the final of England 2015, in which they lost to champions New Zealand, as proof that being present in a brutal pool can be beneficial.

"If you want to win the World Cup, you're going to have to play the best teams anyway", England's Billy Vunipola said.

The World Cup runs from 20 September to 2 November 2019.

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The 2019 RWC pool draw ceremony is set to begin at 5pm local time (1.30pm IST, 9am BST, 8am GMT, 6pm AEDT, 8pm NZT).

World rugby have confirmed the structure for the knockout stages of the 2015 tournament will remain in place in 2019.

We've drawn a pool that's got some strength in it, that's okay.

They have won both of their World Cup games so far against Argentina, but the Pumas are much improved and reached the semi-finals in 2015.

"This is an historic moment for the sport and a great step towards protecting the integrity, ethos and stature of worldwide rugby", said World Rugby vice-chairman Agustin Pichot. [The Play-Off Winner] could well be Tonga, Samoa or Fiji. "We have them in our pool".

There were gasps from the Japanese in the audience at the draw when the hosts were paired with Scotland.

Ireland's bumper draw of Scotland and Japan in Pool A was summed up perfectly by the snap reaction of Jamie Heaslip, the Leinster number eight's instinctive fist-pump underscoring their hugely agreeable line-up.

If they win the pool, Australia would face the second place team from England, France and Argentina's pool in the quarter-finals, but coach Michael Cheika said figuring out the possible permutations was not that important.

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