England & Ireland Could End Up In RWC 2019 ‘Pool Of Death’ Despite World Rankings

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England & Ireland could end up in a Rugby World Cup 2019 pool of death despite being ranked 2nd and 4th respectively.

The tournament draw will take place next May with the top four seeded teams usually afforded a kinder draw but with recent results and rankings swings, both sides are in danger of ending up in a difficult group.

The top four-ranked teams at the time of the World Cup pool draw, which will take place on May 10 in Kyoto’s State Guest House, will be handed top-seed status and are guaranteed to avoid each other.

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With four pools of five teams, each top seed is drawn with a side ranked fifth to eighth and then one from ninth to 12th. The ­remaining eight teams drawn from two further bands. The remaining eight teams drawn from two further bands.

Both sides could be drawn in a pool containing two other tier-one nations partly because South Africa have dropped to sixth in the rankings after their defeat to Wales. Unless Ireland and Wales both endure a poor Six Nations, the Springboks are almost certain to remain in the second band for the World Cup draw.

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Argentina, remain ninth (79.91 points) in the rankings following their defeat by England, but are almost certain to finish in the top eight, as France (80.13), Scotland (80.67) and even Wales (82.55), are all at risk of dropping below them if they struggle in the Six Nations.

If one of the Six Nations sides other than 13th-ranked Italy drop out of the top eight, it is possible then that England or Ireland could be drawn in a pool that contains South Africa and, say, France, both of whom could be much stronger opposition when the next World Cup kicks off in September 2019.

[Telegraph]

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