The 2019 Rugby World Cup may be two years away but expectations ahead of the tournament were heightened Wednesday after the draw for the pool stages in Japan threw up a number of potential titanic battles.
England, France and Argentina, together with the Americas 1 and Oceania 2 qualifiers form part of Pool C, which is already being called the “pool of death”.
South Africa made the semi-finals of the last World Cup, but only after falling victim to one of the biggest upsets in the tournament’s history when Japan beat them 34-32
The Boks and All Blacks have clashed four times in Rugby World Cups before. New Zealand lost to South Africa in the 1995 final and the 1999 third-place playoff match, but have won their last two World Cup meetings, including the 2015 semi-final.
Springbok coach Allister Coetzee, who attended the draw at the Kyoto State Guest House said he is satisfied with the pool allocation and the team posted this on Twitter:
Coach Allister Coetzee – "To us it doesn't matter who we draw, Because to win the Rugby World Cup, you have to beat the best teams out there pic.twitter.com/U8uaTDq8h4
— South African Rugby (@Springboks) May 10, 2017
Coach goes on to say,
“The pools consist of five teams each and history shows that you need to win at least three of your four pool matches to be sure of a place in the play-offs. We will focus on our journey towards the RWC 2019 and make sure we are ready and well prepared.
“If ever there was testimony that the gap between the top teams have closed, then we saw that at the over the past few months in the Northern Hemisphere. With New Zealand established as the number one side, there is also very little to choose between the top sides in the world, while the next batch of teams continue to improve.”
2019 RUGBY WORLD CUP DRAW
Pool A: Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Europe 1, Play-off Winner
Pool B: New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Africa 1, Repechage Winner
Pool C: England, France, Argentina, Americas 1, Oceania 2
Pool D: Australia, Wales, Georgia, Oceania 1, Americas 2