Ireland have been drawn in Pool D along with two other RBS 6 Nations teams for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.
Ireland will face 2011 Rugby World Cup finalists France along with Italy and the qualifiers from Europe 2 and Americas 1 in Pool D.
Qualification from the pool will pit Ireland against a team from Pool C which includes reigning champions New Zealand and perennial World Cup foes Argentina.
Giving his reaction to the draw in London, Ireland head coach Declan Kidney said: “We’ve been drawn in a pool where everybody knows one another. It’s going to make things really tight in 2015.
“We’re obviously playing (France and Italy) in the Six Nations three times before then. We also have a tour to North America next June when we’ll be playing Canada twice and America once.
“And then we have World Cup history with Russia and Georgia (who could potentially be the Europe 2 qualifiers in our pool), so there won’t be too many surprises.
“We played France a couple of times in the World Cup and came second by a bit. They’ve always shown themselves to be an extremely good side who peak for that competition.
“I’m sure they’d like nothing better than to win the World Cup in England. We know we have a huge task ahead of us.”
The 2015 Rugby World Cup will comprise 20 teams allocated into four pools – 12 teams that directly qualified from the 2011 tournament and eight teams that are currently involved in the global qualifying process which kicked off in Mexico city in March.
Pool A – Australia, England, Wales, Oceania 1, Play-Off Winners
Pool B – South Africa, Samoa, Scotland, Asia 1, Americas 2
Pool C – New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga, Europe 1, Africa 1
Pool D – France, IRELAND, Italy, Americas 1, Europe 2
At the draw, it was also confirmed that the knockout phase structure will be the same as previous Rugby World Cups:
Quarter-final 1: Winners Pool B v Runners-up Pool A
Quarter-final 2: Winners Pool C v Runners-up Pool D
Quarter-final 3: Winners Pool A v Runners-up Pool B
Quarter-final 4: Winners Pool D v Runners-up Pool C
Semi-final 1: Winners QF1 v Winners QF2
Semi-final 2: Winners QF3 v Winners QF4
Bronze final: Losers SF1 v Losers SF2
Final: Winners SF1 v Winners SF2