Rugby World Cup 2019: England drawn with France and Argentina
Last Updated: 10/05/17 12:35pm
England have been drawn with France and Argentina in Pool C, while New Zealand and South Africa have been drawn together in Pool B for the 2019 Rugby World Cup to be held in Japan.
England have been handed a tough World Cup pool draw for the second successive tournament.
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Eddie Jones' men will be in the same group as France and Argentina for the 2019 tournament. At the 2015 World Cup, England were grouped with Australia and Wales and failed to reach the knockout phase.
France are showing signs of considerable improvement under new head coach Guy Noves, and Argentina are consistent top-drawer performers at World Cup tournaments.
The group is completed by two qualifiers - Americas 1, which will be the United States or Canada, and Oceania 2, which looks set to be Samoa or Fiji.
"It's all very exciting," said England coach Eddie Jones. "We have two Tests against Argentina in June so we can practice a little bit.
"France have really improved over the last two years and are certainly a dangerous team.
"We want to win the World Cup in 2019, and to win it, we need to be ready to play and beat anyone. Our pool will be highly competitive and full of intensity, as a World Cup group should be - history shows that you need to win seven games to win the tournament and we will greatly respect every team we play.
"We will be ready - our detailed planning for the group, and the tournament, starts now. Everything we do, every game we play and every day we train is aimed at continuously improving and is focussed on our ultimate goal of winning the World Cup.
"Japan is a unique country, a unique culture and rugby is on the up here - everybody is looking forward to playing the tournament here."
Ireland and Scotland were pooled together at the draw along with hosts Japan, while Wales have drawn Australia for the second successive World Cup - Georgia are also in their pool.
Ireland will be favourites to win Pool A as they set about trying to improve a World Cup record that has never seen them progress beyond the quarter-finals.
Host nation Japan are also in the group - Scotland beat them in the 2015 pool stage - with Europe 1, possibly Romania, and a play-off winner completing the picture.
Wales once again find themselves in direct competition with Australia, a country they have consistently struggled to beat during head coach Warren Gatland's nine-year coaching reign.
Wales lost to Australia during the 2015 World Cup, and they also face tough opposition from rapidly-improving Georgia, whom Wales meet for the first time during their autumn Test schedule later this year.
Samoa, against whom Wales scraped a victory at World Cup 2011 in New Zealand, are also likely to feature in the group as Oceania 1, with Americas 2 completing the picture.
New Zealand's clash with South Africa promises to be the pool stage highlight, but reigning world champions the All Blacks will not be unduly worried by a group that also features Italy, Africa 1 and the repechage winner.
All qualifying will be finished by the end of next year. The top two teams from each pool will reach the quarter-finals in 2019.
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