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Tomorrow, May 10, at five p.m. Japan time, there will be a draw for placement in the four Pools in the Rugby World Cup 2019. The draw will be held in the Kyoto Guest House by the head of the host nation Japan.
The first stage of the selection will occur among the twelve nations that qualified by their 2015 RWC performance in England. The twelve were then separated into three bands (1,2,3) as ranked by current World Rugby standings. The Bands are:
Band 1 = New Zealand (1), England (2), Australia (3), and Ireland (4)
Band 2 = Scotland (5), France (6), South Africa (7), and Wales (8)
Band 3 = Argentina (9), Japan (11), George (12), and Italy (15)
(N.B. Fiji is currently ranked 10 but it did not finish in the top three spots in their 2015 RWC pool, and must qualify for a RWC 2019 slot in Oceania tournament play. Samoa are 13, and Tonga 14.)
The four pools (A, B, C, D) will be filled by a random draw from each of the three bands.
Hypothetically using England from Band 1, the Red Roses could draw Wales (which beat them in RWC 2015), or two-time RWC winner South Africa from Band 2, while also drawing in Argentina from Band 3, which finished fourth in RWC 2015.
Notice the easier path for England if they draw Scotland or France (which they defeated regularly in the Six Nations tournament) and either Italy (which has never beat England) or Georgia.
Two losses within the RWC pool eliminate advancement to the quarterfinals, a negative result for England in 2015 when they lost to Australia and Wales.
The Springboks experienced their worst season ever with only four wins in thirteen matches. But if they can correct past poor performance, they will represent the most formidable foe coming out of Band 2.
The RWC 2019 “Pool of Death” will be clear after the draw.