In Summary
  • England received a horror draw for the second straight Rugby World Cup when they landed in a pool of death alongside France and Argentina on Wednesday.
  • The 2003 champions were handed the toughest assignment of the leading nations, with holders New Zealand drawing South Africa and Italy in Pool B.
  • Two-time winners Australia went into Pool D with Wales and Georgia, while Ireland will face Scotland and hosts Japan in Pool A.

KYOTO

England received a horror draw for the second straight Rugby World Cup when they landed in a pool of death alongside France and Argentina on Wednesday.

The 2003 champions were handed the toughest assignment of the leading nations, with holders New Zealand drawing South Africa and Italy in Pool B.

Two-time winners Australia went into Pool D with Wales and Georgia, while Ireland will face Scotland and hosts Japan in Pool A.

Two more teams will be added to each group after qualifying, which England will now watch closely after their nightmare showing in 2015.

Two years ago, England became the first World Cup hosts not to reach the knock-outs after they were grouped with Wales, Australia, Fiji and Uruguay.

"It's all very exciting isn't it?" deadpanned coach Eddie Jones, who has led England to 17 wins in 18 games and two straight Six Nations titles.

"We've got two Tests against Argentina in June so we can practise a little bit."

Wednesday's draw could complicate Jones's oft-repeated vow to dethrone top-ranked New Zealand, who have won the World Cup three times.

England have a mixed World Cup record against France and their last meeting was a quarter-final defeat in 2011 in Auckland.

They have won both of their World Cup games so far against Argentina, but the Pumas are much improved and reached the semi-finals in 2015.

"It's a death pool for sure," said France coach Guy Noves. "It's very difficult and we will try to match our rivals and to get out of the pool.

"The competition starts today but let's not forget that two teams haven't qualified yet, so we must respect all rivals."

SUPER MARIO

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