All Blacks draw Springboks in 2019 Rugby World Cup pool

Holders New Zealand are in Pool B with South Africa and Italy while England are in a tough Pool C alongside France and Argentina.

The All Blacks ended up in a pool with South Africa, Italy and two yet-to-be-determined qualifiers.

England coach Eddie Jones believes the tough pool will leave his players battle hardened for the knockout phase.

"I'm not just saying that. the European Cup or all those things, you don't forecast, you don't predict what's going to happen, you don't gamble on things."

The top three teams from each pool at Rugby World Cup 2015 automatically qualified for the 2019 tournament and were split into three bands based on their current world rankings.

"We've got two very big games against France and Argentina so it's great preparation for getting to the final stages". In 2015, for various reasons, we didn't get to play the game we wanted. We want to win the World Cup.

Asked about negotiating what French counterpart Guy Noves described as the "pool of death", Jones joked that he would head for one of Kyoto's famous temples to ask for help.

"Obviously with heat and humidity it's something we need to plan for", said Hansen, identifying one possible cause for concern.

The two teams could face off in the opening match of the tournament in 2019, after they were drawn together in Pool A alongside Scotland and two qualifiers.

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Australia coach Michael Cheika will not take anything for granted at the 2019 Rugby World Cup despite receiving a comparatively kind draw. New Zealand is established as the No1 side ut there is very little to choose between the other top sides in the world.

"We know South Africa very well", added Hansen, looking ahead to New Zealand's first ever group clash with the Springboks, who memorably beat the All Blacks in an emotional 1995 final.

"We've seen the upward curve that Japan have taken in recent times".

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt said: "I think it's incredibly exciting to draw the host nation".

Japan will become the first Asian country to host the World Cup, a move which aims to ignite rugby passion around the region.

"Our staff will get incredibly frustrated at times because people say yes to you when they mean no".

New Zealand, who went on to retain the trophy against Australia in the final, and South Africa, who won the tournament in 1995, have been drawn alongside Italy as well as two unknown qualifiers from the Americas continent and a repechage round victor.

The match schedule won't be announced until September but the All Blacks will likely be hoping to face South Africa in the middle of pool play.

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.

  • Regina Holmes