The Pool Draw for Rugby World Cup 2019 takes place in Kyoto, Japan on Wednesday. Ireland, currently fourth in the World Rugby Rankings will be in Band 1 for the draw, and fans will be eagerly awaiting the outcome as Ireland could be paired with some old rivals.
Finishing the RBS 6 Nations on a high with a win over England secured Ireland’s fourth-place ranking which means they go into Band 1 for the RWC Pool Draw alongside New Zealand, England and Australia.
Band 2 contains Scotland, France, South Africa and Wales. Ireland have never faced South Africa in the Rugby World Cup but they have played the other three countries – with mixed results.
Ireland have played Wales in three tournaments – 1987, 1995 and 2011. The ’87 and 2011 matches both took place in Wellington, New Zealand and both ended in defeat for Ireland, while the 1995 match was in South Africa with Ireland edging it 24-23.
Ireland’s RWC record against France reads played four, won one – that win coming in one of the most pulsating matches of the tournament in England 2015. Prior to that, there was a pool defeat in 2007 and quarter-final losses in both the 1995 and 2003 tournaments.
The men in green have only played Scotland once in the Rugby World Cup, losing to them in a pool match in Edinburgh in 1991.
Band 3 for the draw offers some interesting opponents, including hosts Japan and Ireland’s familiar World Cup foes Argentina.
Joe Schmidt’s side will play two Test matches in Japan next month and will be wary of a team that famously beat South Africa in 2015 and have made great strides in recent seasons. Ireland and Japan have met twice before in the Rugby World Cup with Ireland winning in Dublin in 1991 and South Africa in 1995 (pictured above).
Georgia, of course, nearly caused an upset in France in 2007 when Ireland struggled to a 14-10 win in the only RWC match between the two sides.
Ireland have faced Italy in the two most recent tournaments, beating them in Dunedin in 2011 and emerging as 16-9 winners from a tight pool match at London’s Olympic Stadium in 2015.
Argentina have caused much Irish heartache at previous World Cups, not least our last meeting in the quarter-final in Cardiff in 2015. Ireland also lost to the Pumas at the 1999 and 2007 tournaments. Their only victory so far came in 2003 in Adelaide, Australia as the south Americans were edged out 16-15 (pictured below).
The countries in Band 3 have yet to be confirmed but there will be qualifiers from Europe 1, Oceania 1 & 2, Americas 1 & 2, Africa and via the repechage. That could see teams such as Romania, Fiji, whom Ireland play in the GUINNESS Series in November, and USA coming through.
All in all, it makes for an exciting RWC Pool Draw and plenty to focus on two years out from Japan 2019. To whet your appetite here’s a look back at some of the highlights from the 2015 tournament:
The live RWC Pool Draw takes place in Kyoto State Guest House in Kyoto, Japan on Wednesday. Coverage will be available on www.rugbyworldcup.com at 5pm Japanese time/9am Irish time.
For more on the RWC Pool Draw and how it works, please visit rugbyworldcup.com/pooldraw/overview.