New Zealand remain firm favourites to win a third successive Rugby World Cup in 2019 after Wednesday’s pool announcement revealed who will line up against who in Tokyo in two years’ time.
The reigning champions were drawn against Rugby Championship rivals South Africa in Pool B, with Italy the other Tier 1 nation in their group along with the repechage winner and Africa’s second qualifying nation, which is yet to be decided.
Meanwhile, 2015 tournament hosts England find themselves in what will be seen as RWC 2019’s pool of death, grouped alongside Six Nations foes France and Argentina, who will be seeking a podium place at the very least after making it to the semi-finals two years ago.
The Red Rose were expected to get an easier draw after winning a second successive Six Nations crown, but it’s Wales who look to have lucked out after drawing Australia and Tier 2 Georgia, with qualifiers from Oceania and the Americas set to join at a later date.
Ireland will have high hopes of topping Pool A after drawing Scotland and Japan as their steepest rivals, with Europe’s other top qualifier and a continental play-off winner also included.
Rugby World Cup 2019 Pools:
- Pool A: Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Europe 1, play-off winner (Europe 2 v Oceania 3)
- 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
Rugby World Cup 2019 Winner Odds
- New Zealand: Evens (2.00)
- England: 4/1 (5.00)
- Australia: 6/1 (7.00)
- Ireland: 7/1 (8.00)
- South Africa: 10/1 (11.00)
- France: 18/1 (19.00)
- Wales: 18/1 (19.00)
- Argentina: 25/1 (26.00)
- Scotland: 40/1 (41.00)
- Japan: 125/1 (126.00)