Australia have been drawn alongside England and Wales in what is being called the ‘Pool of Death’ for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The draw, conducted last night at London’s Tate Modern, means that one of the traditional rugby powers will be knocked out before the quarter-finals.
Let’s not kid ourselves when it comes to the RWC, England is Australia’s bogey team and they present as the most formidable roadblock to the quarter finals in 2015.
Australia haven’t beaten England since the 1991 final, with two losses in quarter finals (1995 and 2007) and of course noone can’t forget the 2003 final in Sydney.
Wales on the other hand have been beaten by Australia in the pool stages10 1991 and 2007, in Cardiff no less. But you can’t simply write them off because of this. Despite their current run of losses, Wales can not be discounted and if they return to their 6 Nations winning form, they could potentially be the end to Australia’s 2015 campaign.
Wales could also have home ground advantage with Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium one of 17 venues on the ‘long list’ of venues.
The one positive to take though is that whoever wins the ‘Pool of Death’ will avoid New Zealand until the final provided the All Blacks win their group.
The runner up will have to take on the Winner of Pool B, which at this stage would most likely be South Africa.
While the draw is significant for the RWC, David Pocock says there are no easy pools and there is plenty of rugby to be played before then.
“There’s no easy pools in the World Cup and it’s a long way off so you’ve got to play with the cards that you’re dealt and from our point of view there’s plenty of rugby to be played before then, next big thing is the Lions and we’re pretty excited about that.
“If you want to win it you have to beat all the best teams and there’ll be a lot of hype around that game against England and the Welsh game especially if it is played at Millennium. Those will be two massive games, throw Fiji in the mix and there are no easy games in the World Cup and you wouldn’t want it any other way.
The All Blacks were drawn in Pool C with Argentina, Tonga and two as-yet-unqualified teams in Europe 1 and Africa 1.
South Africa, World Cup winners on home soil in 1995 and in France in 2007, were in Pool B with Samoa, Scotland, Asia 1 and Americas 2.
France are in Pool D with a strong Six Nations bias as it also included major European rivals Ireland and Italy as well as Americas 1 and Europe 2.
The eight remaining teams will come from a series of global qualifying matches that started in Mexico in March and will culminate in 2014.
The 2015 World Cup in England, the eighth edition of the tournament, will run from September 18 to October 31, 2015, with the final at Twickenham.