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RWC 2007 Draw.

RWC 2007 Draw.

It’s a pretty good draw, particularly given that we won’t be
facing Argentina, Fiji or Samoa,” said Scotland coach Matt Williams speaking about the 2007 RWC in which his side face the All Blacks

“It’s a pretty good draw, particularly given that we won’t be facing Argentina, Fiji or Samoa,” said Scotland coach Matt Williams speaking about the Pool stages of the 2007 RWC in which his side face the All Blacks and probably Italy.

From an Irish viewpoint, they once again will have to face the host nation (France) and almost certainly Argentina in Pool D and coach Eddie O’Sullivan had a grin on his face when he said,
“I thanked Syd (Millar, chairman of the IRB) personally after the draw for his contribution to Irish rugby.” A reference to Syd Millar, Chairman of the IRB, who along with Bernard Lapasset conducted the draw.

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O’Sullivan went on to say, “”We’re back in again at the deep end. I suppose really it’s a case of dijy vu. We shouldn’t get too carried away at the moment, we’re still three years away so we’ll see how the dust settles in three years’ time.”

French captain, lock Fabien Pelous said that his country had
been given
a tough draw with Ireland.
“Each top seed had to be drawn with a danger team,and we
certainly got one
in Ireland,” said Pelous.

“But what matters is to be at our best for one and a half
months in 2007
and if we can do that, we can pull it off.”

World champions England were once again
paired with
South Africa.
The two sides enjoyed a bruising pool encounter at last year’s
finals in
Perth, Australia, which Clive Woodward’s men won 25-6 before going on
to beat
Australia in the final.

And four years prior to that they met at the quarter-finals stage
with the
Springboks getting the better of it on that occasion winning 44-21 in

They were drawn in Pool A alongside the top side from the Oceania
qualifiers, the third team from the Americas zone and the second team
from the
repechage play-off system.

Pool B saw Australia and Wales drawn together, Pool C has New
Zealand and

Like O’Sullivan, England forwards coach
Andy Robinson used the deja vu theme. “All indications are that Samoa could be the Oceania 1 team
and that would
see the three of us together again, which would make it pretty much
the same
(as 2003).”

New Springbok skipper, hooker John Smit, said England against
South Africa
was becoming something of a World Cup classic.
“We face England, who are in our pool once again, at the end
of this year
and it should be a great clash as anything can happen in a Test match.

“These are exiciting times in SA rugby at the moment with a
new coach and a
lot of hard work ahead, but there are a lot of positives in our game
and we’d
certainly like to improve on our current situation.”

Wales’s new coach Mike Ruddock said that he was delighted with the
to gain revenge for their defeat by Australia in the 1999 World Cup.
“We are extremely excited about the draw we have been dealt
for Rugby World
Cup 2007,” said Ruddock, who was the surprise choice to replace
New Zealander
Steve Hansen after he left following the Six Nations to take up a
post with All Blacks coach Graham Henry.

“It will provide us with a good opportunity to test this
Welsh team against
one of the World’s top sides in double World Champions Australia. The clash with the Aussies will bring back fond memories of
the World Cup
in 1999 when we ran them close and hopefully we will be in a position
to go
one better this time.”

Scotland’s Australian coach Matt Williams claimed to be pretty
with the draw.
“It’s a pretty good draw, particularly given that we won’t be
facing Argentina, Fiji (who they beat in injury time in their pool match in the 2003 edition to edge into the quarter-finals or Samoa,” said Williams, whose first
season in charge saw Scotland end up with the Six Nations wooden
spoon as they
failed to win one match.

“We’ve drawn the All Blacks and, in all probability, Italy
and we know
plenty about both of them. Qualification for the knockout stages of
the World
Cup isn’t easy and to be honest all four pools are tough.”

The zonal qualifiers for the finals will get underway later this
year, but
France and Ireland look likely to get Argentina who are expected to
top the
Americas zone with Italy going in against New Zealand and Scotland.

Apart from the top eight teams, 10 places will be filled by Europe
Americas (3), Oceania (2), Africa (1) and Asia (1). The remaining two
will be decided by two inter-zone play-offs.

Pool A
South Africa,
Oceania 1,
Americas 3,
Repechage 2.

Pool B
Oceania 2,
Americas 2,
Asia 1.

Pool C
New Zealand,
Europe 1,
Europe 2,
Repechage 1.

Pool D
Americas 1,
Europe 3,
Africa 1.

The quarter-final line-up will be decided as follows: Winners A1 v Winners B2; A2 v B1; C1 v D2; C2 v D1.

The 2007 tournament will have 48 matches, beginning on September 7th. Two quarter-finals, both semi-finals and the final on October 20th will be at the Stade de France, with the two other quarter-finals at Cardiff and Marseille.