The seventh-ranked Springboks managed to get out of the 2019 Rugby World Cup draw largely unscathed, despite being grouped with defending champions New Zealand.
South Africa have been drawn in Group B with the All Blacks, Italy, the Africa 1 qualifier, which is likely to be Namibia, and the playoff winners at the draw, which took place in Kyoto, Japan on Wednesday.
England, France and Argentina, together with the Americas 1 and Oceania 2 qualifiers form part of Pool C, which is already being called the “pool of death”.
The Boks and All Blacks have clashed four times in Rugby World Cups before, with two victories each — South Africa won the final in 1995 (15-12) and the bronze-medal match in 1999 (22-18). New Zealand came out tops in the quarter-final in 2003 (29-9) and the semi-final in 2015 (20-18).
Springbok coach Allister Coetzee, who attended the draw at the Kyoto State Guest House said he is satisfied with the pool allocation.
“As I said before the draw was made that it doesn’t matter who we are drawn against, because to win the Rugby World Cup, you have to beat the best teams out there,” said Coetzee.
“The pools consist of five teams each and history shows that you need to win at least three of your four pool matches to be sure of a place in the play-offs. We will focus on our journey towards the RWC 2019 and make sure we are ready and well prepared.
“If ever there was testimony that the gap between the top teams have closed, then we saw that at the over the past few months in the Northern Hemisphere. With New Zealand established as the number one side, there is also very little to choose between the top sides in the world, while the next batch of teams continue to improve.”
2019 RUGBY WORLD CUP DRAW
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, Oceania 1, Americas 2
Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/19348681/springboks-all-blacks-group-b
Springboks, All Blacks in Group B
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