Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Jones looks to the gods after RWC draw

Frederick Owens | 14 May, 2017, 04:04

The draw for the tournament to be played in Japan was made on Wednesday.

Only 12 teams were in the draw at Kyoto's State Guest House with the other eight nations yet to qualify from various regional tournaments.

"You just look at what's in front of you and do the absolute best in that one because other things are happening around you that you can't control".

"They'll be targeting getting out of the pool and I'm sure that we'll see them play close to their best in every game". To make the final we have got four very tough games. The play-off place will be decided by a home-and-away tie between the third team in the Pacific Nations Cup and the second team (again, excluding Georgia) in the Rugby Europe competition. Europe 1 will be the winners of the Rugby Europe Championship (excluding Georgia, who have already qualified).

Japan will play Ireland, Scotland, and qualifiers Europe 1 and the victor of the Europe/Oceania playoff at Rugby World Cup 2019, following Wednesday's draw at Kyoto State Guest House. Eddie Jones's men were drawn in Pool C, alongside Argentina, France and "Oceania 2", which will be one of Samoa, Tonga or Fiji.

If the All Blacks top Pool B, which also includes South Africa, Italy, Africa 1 (potentially Namibia) and a Repechage victor, then the runner up in Pool A awaits them in the quarter-finals.

Defending champion New Zealand and South Africa, victor in 1995 and 2007, have been set against each other in Pool B. We're looking forward to it.

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

"It doesn't matter who we are drawn against, because to win the Rugby World Cup you have to beat the best teams out there", said Springbok coach Allister Coetzee.

While there is a lot of rugby to be played between now and the tournament itself, which starts on 20 September 2019, Gregor Townsend's team can at least take a degree of comfort from the fact that they have won their most recent meetings against both the Irish and the Japanese.

Speaking about England's Pool C opponent, Jones added: "France have really improved over the past two years and are certainly a unsafe team".

"France have really improved over the last two years and are a really risky team".

Steve Hansen, whose New Zealand side were barely tested in their pool at the 2015 tournament, said he was pleased to be in a group that would provide "some challenges".

"England are one of our main rivals but South Africa, Australia and France are improving sides".

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