Rugby Union

Ireland handed favourable 2019 Rugby World Cup draw

Ireland fell short of their bid to reach a first ever Rugby World Cup semi-final in 2015, beaten by an Argentina side that finds itself destined for the group of death in this morning's draw for the 2019 tournament in Japan.

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Pool A - Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Europe 1, play-off winner.

Pool B - New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Africa 1, repechage winner.

Pool C - England, France, Argentina, Americas 1, Oceania 2.

Pool D - Australia, Wales, Georgia, Americas 2, Oceania 1.

Ireland have been handed a favourable World Cup pool draw.

Ireland were pooled with Scotland and Japan at the draw, which took place in the Kyoto State Guest House, Japan.

England landed a fearsome draw for the second successive tournament.

Eddie Jones' men will be in the same group as France and Argentina for the 2019 tournament in Japan.

At the 2015 World Cup, England were grouped with Australia and Wales and failed to reach the knockout phase.

Wales, meanwhile, have drawn Australia for the second successive World Cup - Georgia are also in their pool - while there is a shuddering showdown ahead between holders New Zealand and their fellow twice world champions South Africa in Pool B.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt said of his side's task: "I think it's very hard to assess where teams are going to be in two years' time."

He has been impressed by Japan's "upward curve" and said: "They got very close to beating Wales last autumn, and obviously their heroics in the last World Cup were pretty spectacular."

Saying Ireland would "need to be on our mettle" for a possible clash with Romania, Schmidt also suggested the clash with the team from Oceania would be a significant test.

He told World Rugby: "We lost to Scotland recently so it's a mixed bag but I think it's incredibly exciting to draw the host nation in that the crowd, the enthusiasm and the interest in that game is going to be huge."

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