4 Dec, 10:19
Grand Slam winners Fiona Coghlan and Nora Stapelton have returned the Women's RBS 6 Nations trophy to Chief Executive John Feehan at the Six Nations offices in Dublin.
The teams will then be randomly drawn by band into the four pools that will comprise rugby's showcase event in England in 2015.
RWCL Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "The format of seeding teams for the Rugby World Cup pool allocation draw using the IRB World Rankings is a credible, succinct and proven method that reflects form, stimulates interest and is backed by our Unions.
"With every Test match played between now and the draw counting towards the IRB World Rankings, the pool allocation draw adds an extra dimension to a mouth-watering year that features the new tours and Test schedule as well as Argentina's inclusion in the new Rugby Championship.
"The pool allocation draw is therefore a fitting climax as teams, fans and media look towards England 2015 and a tournament that promises to take our pinnacle event to new levels in terms of exposure, engagement and financial returns for the global game."
The 2015 Rugby World Cup in England will comprise 20 teams allocated into four pools - 12 teams that automatically qualified from the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand; and eight teams that will come through the 2015 World Cup global qualifier process which kicked off in March this year.
The 12 automatic qualifiers are the 2011 Rugby World Cup winners New Zealand, runners-up France, losing semi-finalists Australia and Wales, losing quarter-finalists Argentina, England, Ireland and South Africa, and Tonga, Scotland, Italy and Samoa, who finished in third place in their respective pools.
Like the last three World Cup tournaments, there will be four pools of five teams. Each team will be banded according to strength to try and ensure evenly-matched pools. The teams in each band will be randomly drawn to determine the pools they go into.
The 12 directly qualified teams will be allocated into the top three bands for the random draw using the IRB World Rankings of December 3, 2012 as follows:
Band 1 - The four highest ranked directly qualified teams *
Band 2 - The next four highest ranked directly qualified teams *
Band 3 - The final four directly qualified teams *
Band 4 - Oceania 1, Europe 1, Asia 1, Americas 1
Band 5 - Africa 1, Europe 2, Americas 2, Repechage winners
* The directly qualified teams are the teams that finished in the top three of each 2011 World Cup pool
Paul Vaughan, CEO of the England 2015 organising body, said: "The pool allocation draw is another major milestone as momentum builds towards England's hosting of rugby's showcase event.
"The draw is particularly significant for the teams and for the fans as they can really begin their journey towards the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
"All eyes will be on the draw so it gives us a fantastic global platform to talk about the tournament and build excitement.
"Operationally this also allows us to progress our collaborative work around the match schedule and venue programme which are key elements for 2013."
The timing of the draw three years out from the 2015 Rugby World Cup enables RWCL and ER 2015 to develop the match schedule in association with rights holding broadcasters, confirm venues and base camps and provide teams with an appropriate lead-in time to maximise planning and preparation.
Related Links -
|RWC 2011 Pool C|