In December, Ireland defeated Scotland to finish third in the Autumn Nations Cup

Ireland and Scotland will face each other on the billiard stages of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

England – the 2019 finalists – will play Japan and Argentina, while the 2019 semi-finalists Wales will face Australia and Fiji.

This is the second time in a row that Ireland and Scotland are being held together, as Ireland was knocked out of the group the last time.

Defending champions South Africa also joined the two teams in Group B.

Welles also played Australia and Fiji in the pool stages in 2019, taking top spot in the group before veering past Springboks in the semi-finals.

In Group A, host France faces three-time winners New Zealand, and Italy, which has won the Six Nations Championship.

Only 12 teams have qualified for the tournament so far, with eight qualifying matches to be completed by November 2022.

The two sides are divided into four swimming pools of five each, and the first two teams from each pool qualify for the quarter-finals.

Last year’s tournament in Japan was only the second time Scotland had failed to exit the pool stages, having also done so in 2011.

In 2019, Gregor Townsend’s men lost to Ireland and Japan, both of whom advanced to the quarter-finals.

The tournament will be held from September 8 to October 21, 2023 across 10 French cities, with the largest venue in Paris, Stade de France, and the smallest stadium in Nice.

The full match list, with the date, venue and times of all matches, will be announced at the end of February 2021.

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“We want to be our best in 2023” – what they said

Ireland coach Andy Farrell said: “There is nothing better than the Rugby World Cup draw to get the juices flowing. I’m so excited.

“The way the second and third tier countries develop, if you as a first-class country are not preparing properly, you will fail.”

Gregor Townsend said: “It’s going to be a great tournament. I think it’s the hardest group in the current world ranking. It’s going to be very competitive.

“Every four years, the World Cup gets bigger and bigger for our sport. There is a long-term focus on developing a team that can play the best rugby game in 2023.”

Wayne Bevac, Welsh coach said: “It’s a similar gathering but in another country. We’re definitely very excited.

“It gives us a real focal point now. Everyone has to be ready in every match. There is a lot of work to be done but building depth is really important to us.”

England coach Eddie Jones said: “ Argentina is a great team, and Japan is probably the most advanced team in the world.

“They are tough groups. We just have to be at our best. We can’t worry too much about the other teams. The 2023 World Cup is the time when we want to be at our best, not before, not after.”

Why is withdrawing now?

There are less than three years left before the tournament begins and the draw has been based on the world rankings as of January this year.

Positions are usually used after this year’s fall exams to form the draw teams, but some teams – for example South Africa and Japan – have not played in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Welles benefited from this as they were listed among the top performers but have since slipped to ninth place in the world.

In the future, the Rugby World Cup board recommended that a draw be held less than a year before the event to ensure the pools better reflect performance at that time.

Group A. Group B.
New Zealand South Africa
France Ireland
Italy Scotland
Americas Qualifiers Asia / Pacific Qualifiers
Africa Qualifiers European Qualifiers
Group C. D pool
Wells England
Australia Japan
Fiji Argentina
European Qualifiers Oceania qualification
qualification Americas Qualifiers

Matching banner image for the second dayAppendix to the FA Cup