Springboks face All Blacks in Rugby World Cup group stages


The two teams could face off in the opening match of the tournament in 2019, after they were drawn together in Pool A alongside Scotland and two qualifiers.

"Our pool will be highly competitive and full of intensity, as a World Cup group should be".

Two nations who will qualify from the Americas and Oceania qualifying events will complete the pool.

Band Five: Oceania 2, Americas 2, Playoff victor (between Oceania 3 and Europe 2) and Repechage victor.

"Obviously with heat and humidity it's something we need to plan for", said Hansen, identifying one possible cause for concern. "By time World Cup comes around any one of those sides could win", Hansen said.

Scotland were grouped with Ireland and Japan in Pool A for the 2019 tournament along with a European qualifier - Romania now top the rankings - and a cross-continental play-off victor.

The head coach himself, however, was taking nothing for granted after hearing the draw.

Jones coached Japan to the greatest upset in rugby history when the Springboks were stunned 34-32 in Brighton two year ago and while it is unthinkable that England would succumb to act of similar giant-killing, a clash with the 2019 hosts would be a fascinating prospect.

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The group will be rounded off by yet-to-qualify teams from the Americas - likely to be one of Uruguay, Canada or the US - and Oceania - likely one of the Pacific Island power-houses, who themselves are no pushovers. But when they say yes three times but nothing happens then that means it's actually a no. They are one of the best teams in the world.

"It was always going to be what it's going to be".

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This year, England are the second seeds, only behind New Zealand, who, as the defending champions and the best side in the world, are naturally the top seeds.

"They'll be targeting getting out of the Pool and I'm sure that we'll see them play close to their best in every game".

Wales once again find themselves in direct competition with Australia, a country they have consistently struggled to beat during head coach Warren Gatland's nine-year coaching reign.

Jones though is anything but perturbed and says he is already relishing the challenge.

The remaining eight teams - which will be determined via a global qualification process that involves more than 83 teams and which began on March 5, 2016, when Jamaica defeated Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 48-0 - were divided into two further bands. "That will be great motivation for our players".