Wallabies earn dream Rugby World Cup draw

Darren Walton
Wallabies earn dream Rugby World Cup draw

The Wallabies have received the best draw possible for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Third-ranked Australia have landed in Pool D with eighth seeds Wales at Wednesday night's draw in Kyoto, along with Georgia and two yet-to-be-determined qualifiers from Oceania and the Americas 2 division.

Defending champions New Zealand have been pitted alongside Rugby Championship rivals South Africa, while Pool C will undoubtedly be dubbed the group of death.

It features Eddie Jones' second-ranked England, France and 2015 semi-finalists Argentina.

As one of the top four seeds, Australia were always guaranteed to avoid the All Blacks, England and Ireland before the quarter-finals.

Now the Wallabies will be heavily favoured to cruise through the pool stages too, with Wales the lowest-ranked team from the second band of seedings they could have drawn.

The Wallabies have won their past 12 Tests against the Red Dragon, including their pool match at the 2015 World Cup in Britain en route to the final, and last lost to Warren Gatland's side in 2008 in Cardiff.

The favourable draw was a far cry from the last edition of rugby's global showpiece, when Australia battled through the group of death, knocking out co-hosts England during their charge to the title match.

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.

"It's all very exciting, isn't it?" Jones said at the draw.

"We've got two Tests against Argentina in June so we can practise a little bit.

"(The French) are really improving. They really improved over the last two years and are certainly a dangerous team."

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said rugby fans would be licking their lips at a southern-hemisphere, group-stage blockbuster between the world champions and Springboks.

"Everyone will get excited by it and we know each other pretty well," he said.

The ninth World Cup will be the first staged in Asia.

"It's a great opportunity. It's a special part of the world and a unique culture," Hansen said.

"Rugby is developing here and it's probably leading that development in this region so let's hope that the tournament reaches great heights."


Pool A: Ireland (4), Scotland (5), Japan (11), Playoff Winner (between Europe 2 and Oceania 3), Europe 1

Pool B: New Zealand (1), South Africa (7), Italy (15), Africa 1, repechage winner

Pool C: England (2), France (6), Argentina (9), Americas 1, Oceania 2

Pool D: Australia (3), Wales (8), Georgia (12), Oceania 1, Americas 2