Ireland were drawn in Pool C alongside Australia and Italy, avoiding the host country New Zealand and perennial rivals Argentina, in Monday’s draw for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
The draw, which took place in London on Monday afternoon, was made by IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset and the President of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union, Jock Hobbs.
Ireland have avoided the host team New Zealand and also their rivals from the last three Rugby World Cups, Argentina.
Drawn in Pool C, Ireland will face Australia and Italy as well as the qualifiers from Europe 2 and Americas 2.
Ireland have never met Italy in the Rugby World Cup but you could say there is some history where the Wallabies are concerned. It stretches back to the inaugural World Cup when Australia beat Ireland in the quarter finals by 33-15.
Most memorably, Gordon Hamilton’s try four minutes from the whistle put Ireland within a whisker of a quarter final slot in 1991 – only to see the Wallabies come back down the field for Michael Lynagh to orchestrate an amazing single point victory.
Australia went on to win their first Rugby World Cup that year.
In 1999, Ireland also finished second to Australia in Pool E following a 23-3 loss which saw Ireland face a play-off against Argentina for a quarter-final spot.
More recently, Ireland were pipped at the post in the 2003 RWC going down to eventual finalists Australia by a single point and finishing second in the pool.
Rugby World Cup 2011 Pool Draw:
Pool A –
New Zealand, France, Tonga, Americas , Asia 1
Pool B –
Argentina, England, Scotland, Europe 1, Play-Off Winners
Pool C –
Australia, Ireland, Italy, Europe 2, Americas 2
Pool D –
South Africa, Wales, Fiji, Oceania 1, Africa 1