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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Ireland Drawn With Japan And Scotland For RWC 2019

Ireland Drawn With Japan And Scotland For RWC 2019

Ireland’s two-match tour of Japan next month will have added significance after the counties were drawn together in the same pool for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Today’s Rugby World Cup 2019 Pool Draw took place in Kyoto, Japan and placed Ireland, one of the four top seeds, in Pool A alongside tournament hosts Japan, regular Six Nations rivals Scotland, the Europe 1 qualifiers (to be confirmed) and the Play-Off winners (to be confirmed).

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That means there will be added spice to the upcoming Tests between Japan and Ireland in Shizuoka (Saturday, June 17) and Tokyo (Saturday, June 24). Tour match tickets are available to buy online here.

The nations have not played each other since Ireland’s brace of tour wins back in June 2005, while there were two previous Rugby World Cup clashes and Japan also played a tour match in Dublin in November 2000.

Noel Mannion scored two tries and Ralph Keyes kicked 16 points in a 32-16 pool victory over the Brave Blossoms at Lansdowne Road during the 1991 World Cup. Four years later in South Africa, Ireland outscored the Japanese by seven tries to four in a 50-28 pool success.

The countries also lined out against each other recently in an Under-19 international at Donnybrook. The game was won by Ireland on a 50-31 scoreline, at the end of the Japanese youngsters’ four-match tour here as part of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Ireland and Japan.

Of course, Ireland have plenty of recent history with Scotland who handed Joe Schmidt’s men a 27-22 defeat in Edinburgh at the start of the 2017 Six Nations. However, this will be only the second time they clash in a World Cup fixture – the Scots topped Pool B back in 1991 thanks to a 24-15 triumph over Ireland at Murrayfield.

The Europe 1 qualifiers for Japan 2019 will come from the Rugby Europe Championship across the 2017 and 2018 tournaments. Georgia have already qualified after finishing third in their pool at RWC 2015, so all matches against the Lelos do not count for Japan 2019 qualification.

Romania top these standings at the halfway stage after bouncing back well from a shock opening round loss to Germany to win their first Rugby Europe Championship title and end Georgia’s six-year stranglehold on the competition. However, Romania’s 15 points is only two more than Spain with Russia a further four points adrift. Germany, who stunned Romania 41-38, are fourth with eight points meaning there is still plenty to play for in 2018.

The Play-Off 1 winners in Ireland’s pool will come from a cross-continental play-off between the second-ranked team from the European competition and the third-ranked side in Oceania. That Oceania spot would be filled by Tonga if things stay as they are – they have ground to make up on Fiji and Samoa who lead the halfway stage of the qualification process which will deliver the Oceania 1 and Oceania 2 qualifiers in July.

The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, was the guest of honour in Kyoto today and conducted the RWC 2019 Pool Draw along with World Rugby Chairman and Hall of Fame member Bill Beaumont, New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen, Saori Yoshida, a champion wrestler and one of Japan’s greatest Olympians, Fumiko Hayashi, Mayor of Yokahama City where the final will be held; and Yoshihiro Sakata, Japan rugby legend and a World Rugby Hall of Fame member.

Speaking at the beautiful Kyoto State Guest House, Prime Minister Abe said: “Rugby World Cup 2019, the first time this great sporting event is to be held in Asia, will be the perfect chance for us to showcase the sport’s appeal to the rest of Asia, home to over half the world’s population.
“I promise that Japan will provide the very best for the players and that an enthusiasm befitting the name of the Rugby World Cup pervades the entire nation. Amid all the thrills and excitement expected, we intend to make the tournament one that will live on in the memories of people around the world. The Japanese people will be united in welcoming you all with our greatest spirit of hospitality.
“Among the host cities will be Kamaishi and Kumamoto, both hit in recent years by disastrous earthquakes. I have confidence that the children in these stricken areas will gain inspiration from the games that will contribute greatly to their emotional growth as well as to further reconstruction of these areas.”

World Rugby Chairman Beaumont added: “The scene is now set for what we fully expect to be a fantastic Rugby World Cup here in Japan. The draw has handed us some potentially great match-ups that will no doubt deliver the sort of excitement and passion that we have come to expect from this tournament over the years.
“I would like to thank the Prime Minister for attending this important milestone for the tournament and for once again pledging his support and commitment to making Rugby World Cup 2019 a special occasion for the people of Japan and, indeed, throughout the continent of Asia.”

If Ireland progress to the quarter-finals as Pool A winners, they will face the runners-up from Pool B which contains reigning champions New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Africa 1 and the Repechage winners. If Ireland were to make it through as Pool A runners-up, they will meet the Pool B winners in the last-eight. 

Ireland v Japan: IRFU Stat Zone

Ireland v Scotland: IRFU Stat Zone


POOL A: IRELAND, Scotland, Japan, Europe 1, Play-Off Winners

POOL B: New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Africa 1, Repechage Winners

POOL C: England, France, Argentina, Americas 1, Oceania 2

POOL D: Australia, Wales, Georgia, Oceania 1, Americas 2

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