The tournament, comprising of 24 teams split into two Divisions, sees reigning champions New Zealand back in action, with Romania - thanks to last year's 30-7 Division B final win over Uruguay - in the A ranks.
The two Divisions are:
Division A: (1) New Zealand, (2) France, (3) South Africa, (4) England, (5) Wales, (6) Australia, (7) Ireland, (8) Japan, (9) Scotland, (10) Argentina, (11) Georgia, (12) Romania
Division B: (1) Italy, (2) Uruguay, (3) Chile, (4) Namibia, (5) Tonga, (6) Russia, (7) Samoa, (8) USA, (9) Spain, (10) Korea, (11) Zimbabwe, (12) Paraguay
There will be a great deal of poigniancy for the Irish squad travelling back to Durban, as thoughts return to the tragic death of eighteen-year-old flanker and Ulster Schools captain John McCall, who collapsed in their opening game at last year's tournament.
Ireland Division A schedule:
Friday, April 1: Ireland v GeorgiaTuesday, April 5: Ireland v South AfricaSaturday, April 9: Ireland v Australia