England, France, Argentina in same pool for 2019 Rugby World Cup

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New Zealand will likely play Scotland, Ireland or Japan in the quarter-finals.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was among the dignitaries to take part in the draw at the historic Kyoto Guest House. "I think it is good for us and it will keep us on our toes".

Wales have drawn Australia for the second successive World Cup - Georgia are also in their pool - while there is a shuddering showdown ahead between holders New Zealand and twice world champions South Africa in Pool B.

The Boks' world ranking dropped from third at the beginning of 2016 to seventh in March this year, which meant that they fell into band two for the draw.

"Any pool that we were going to get put in was going to be a big challenge", said Japan coach Jamie Joseph, whose side will face the Irish in a Test next month.

"To win the World Cup, you have to win seven games".

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"South Africa, Australia and France are improving and by the time the World Cup comes around any number of teams could win the tournament".

Australia's other two Pool D opponents are likely to be either Fiji or Samoa from Oceania and either the U.S. or Canada from the Americas qualifying competition.

New Zealand, who will be bidding for a hat-trick of titles in 2019, face fellow southern hemisphere power South Africa and Italy in Pool B, while hosts Japan will take on Ireland and Scotland in Pool A.

Pool B includes holders New Zealand, their traditional rivals South Africa, Italy, Africa 1 and the victor of a four-team repechage.

"Everyone will get excited by it, and we know each other pretty well so we'll just continue to get to understand each other before we get here", Hansen said.

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Australia, runners up two years ago, will become reacquainted with Wales and also face Georgia and two other teams who have yet to qualify in Pool D.

If the Japan 2019 competition unfolds as expected, England should face Wales in the quarter-finals and champions New Zealand a phase later.

The ninth Rugby World Cup in Japan starts in September, 2019.

They famously beat South Africa for the first time in their history last November and Conor O'Shea has the Azzurri improving all the time.

"There will be a lot of interest in that pool and England will be wondering what they have done wrong".

World Rugby weren't clear on the breakdown of the knockout format last night but have previously said the structure will be the same as 2015.

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