World Cup draw could place ABs with England

The 2015 Rugby World Cup draw will be announced tomorrow morning. Photo / Getty Images
The 2015 Rugby World Cup draw will be announced tomorrow morning. Photo / Getty Images

The All Blacks, having just been thrashed by England at Twickenham, could find themselves in the same World Cup pool as their conquerors for the 2015 global tournament.

England's 38-21 victory over the world champions was impressive in every sense but it wasn't enough to secure a top-four seeding for the World Cup draw. Those places remain occupied by New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and France.

The draw, which will take place in London at 4am tomorrow (NZT), will definitely place England, the World Cup hosts, in a pool with one of the tier one-ranked teams.

Facing England in a pool match on their home turf would be an intriguing prospect for the All Blacks. New Zealand have never lost a World Cup pool game, yet that didn't help them in 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003 or 2007, all tournaments which ended in failure for the men in black.

Being in a strong pool could be beneficial, although not too much should be read into those results. The All Blacks thrashed France in their pool match last year before meeting a very different prospect in the final, which the home team won by the closest of margins, 8-7.

England are joined by Ireland, Samoa and Argentina in tier two, with Wales, semifinalists last year, in tier three alongside Italy, Tonga and Scotland.

The identities of eight remaining teams will be confirmed by World Cup qualifying games for a tournament which starts on September 18, 2015.

World Cup winning coach Clive Woodward believes all nations will consider England a threat in three years' time.

"It makes the draw fascinating, given England have just demolished New Zealand. The top four sides will not want to be playing against England," he told BBC radio.

"The draw is really important because it shows which way you go through the quarter-finals, semifinals.

"That one result will make the southern hemisphere teams sit up and say for once 'we want to keep away from England'."

For many the World Cup doesn't start until the knockout phase but some of the best matches last year were early ones, such as Ireland's victory over Australia at Eden Park and England's close win in a rugged encounter with Argentina in Dunedin.

World Cup draw facts:
* The 20-team competition will comprise four pools, each containing five countries.
* Seedings are based on the current International Rugby Board world rankings, with teams divided into five tiers of four.
* Tier one is New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and France.
* Tier two is England, Ireland, Samoa and Argentina.
* Tier three is Wales, Italy, Tonga and Scotland.
* Tier four is Oceania 1, Europe 1, Asia 1 and Americas 1.
* Tier five is Africa 1, Europe 2, Americas 2, Repechage winner.
* The identity of tier four and five countries will be confirmed after World Cup qualifying games.
* A tier one country will be drawn into each of the four pools, followed by one from tier two, tier three, etc.
* The trademark "pool of death" is likely to be the one that includes Wales, who were World Cup semifinalists in New Zealand last year.
* The top two teams in each pool will progress to the 2015 World Cup quarter-finals.
* The top three teams in each pool will secure automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
* The competition will run from September 18 to October 31, 2015, with Twickenham hosting the final.

- APNZ

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