Published: Thu, May 11, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

All Blacks 'delighted' with Rugby World Cup 2019 pool


The tournament will take place from 20 September 2019 to 2 November 2019 across four different venues in Japan. South Africa also won the World Cup in 2007 when they had a relatively gentle run through the knockout stages, facing Fiji, Argentina and then a resurgent England in the final.

Conor O'Shea's Italy have been handed a very tough draw, against Champions New Zealand and South Africa.

The current World Champions have been drawn in Pool B along with 1995 World Cup winners South Africa, six-time World Cup rivals Italy, the victor of Africa 1 and the Repechage winners from the qualifying tournament.

Australia will be looking to go one better than two years ago and will meet Wales and Georgia in Pool D. "It's all very exciting isn't it?".

"Our pool will be highly competitive and full of intensity, as a World Cup group should be", England coach Eddie Jones said.

"The Rugby World Cup now comes into sharper focus for everyone, and it looks from the draw today like it's going to be another great tournament".

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.

The Australians were runners-up to New Zealand at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, and despite their inconsistent 2016 Test form were able to hold onto third place on the official World Rugby rankings following the end-of-year Northern Test season last December.

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The All Blacks could find themselves playing hosts Japan in the quarter-finals if one of them tops their pool and the other finishes second. "I need to pray really hard", joked Jones.

Two-time champion Australia is in Pool D with Wales, Georgia, Oceania 1 and Americas 2.

The draw for the tournament to be played in Japan was made on Wednesday and placed the All Blacks in a pool along with South Africa, Italy and two yet-to-be-determined qualifiers.

With two teams going through to the quarter-finals, qualification from Pool A should be a fight between those three.

"The more games you go through undefeated you do get that perception of being bulletproof".

Japan coach Jamie Joseph said: "Japan haven't beaten Ireland or Scotland to date, so it is going to be a big challenge, but any group we got was going to be a challenge".

Elsewhere in Japan, New Zealand are set for a heavyweight clash against southern hemisphere rivals South Africa in Pool B.

"We're happy with it, there's some tougher groups, but when you've seen what Japan have done in the last 18 months and Scotland we've struggled with as well".

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