England handed another ‘Pool of Death’ for Japan
Eddie Jones’ side will face France and Argentina at Rugby World Cup
Argentina head coach Daniel Hourcade, England head coach Eddie Jones and France head coach Guy Noves pose during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Pool Draw in Kyoto, Japan. Photograph: Reuters
England’s hopes of winning the 2019 Rugby World Cup have suffered a blow after they received the toughest possible outcome at the pool stages draw for the competition in Japan on Wednesday. Eddie Jones’s men were drawn in Pool C, alongside Argentina, France and ‘Oceania 2’, which will be one of Samoa, Tonga or Fiji.
France are showing signs of considerable improvement under new head coach Guy Noves, and Argentina are consistent top-drawer performers at World Cup tournaments.
“We’ve got two tests against Argentina this summer so that will give us some good practice,” said Jones when giving his reaction to the draw at the Kyoto State Guest House. Wales were drawn in Pool D, alongside Australia - for a second successive World Cup - Georgia and ‘America 2’, while Scotland and Ireland are in Pool A, alongside hosts Japan and a play-off winner.
Defending champions, New Zealand, are part of Pool B, alongside Italy, the Repechage winner and, most mouth-watering of all, the 1995 champions, South Africa. Speaking about taking part at a World Cup in Japan, whom he coached at the 2015 World Cup, Jones added: “It’s massively exciting, this is a unique country, unique culture, everyone looking to playing here.”
That sentiment was echoed by the New Zealand head coach, Steve Hansen: “This is a special part of the world, rugby is developing here, let’s hope the tournament reaches great heights”. All qualifying will be finished by the end of next year and the top two teams from each pool will reach the quarter-finals in 2019, with the tournament beginning on 20 September and ending with the final at the International Stadium in Yokohama on November 2nd.