All Blacks boss Steve Hansen has tipped his side's 2019 Rugby World Cup pool clash with South Africa to be one of the matches of the tournament and inspire proceedings in Japan to new heights.

The defending world champions were drawn with the Springboks, Italy, an African qualifier and a Repechage winner in Pool B of the Cup on Wednesday night.

Both finalists in the 1995 World Cup and semi-final opponents two years ago, the Kiwis and Boks will fancy their chances of progress to the quarter-finals after avoiding the potential banana skin of Argentina.

Yet Hansen told reporters in Kyoto he was glad to have some genuine competition in his group, between the Springboks and a burly Italian outfit.


Unlike in 2015, when only Los Pumas provided New Zealand with any pool-stage competition, his troops would need to be focused from day dot.

Like assistant coach Ian Foster before him, Hansen predicted the Springboks would be a more dangerous outfit by 2019, having struggled in their attempts to impose racial quotas and remain competitive.

The All Blacks twice thrashed the Boks in the Rugby Championship last year, including a 57-15 thumping on South African soil.

However, all overseas-based South African players will be eligible for selection during World Cup years - strengthening their playing stocks significantly.

"We're just happy we're in a pool that'll provide some challenges," Hansen said.

"Any one of those top eight teams you pair with are going to be tough - in this case, we get South Africa, a team that knows us really well, we know them really well, (and) there's a lot of history.

"It'll be one of the games of the tournament and hopefully we both play really great rugby, and inspire the tournament to go to another level."