Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 24 September 2014

England could face All Blacks in RWC draw

The draw for the 2015 World Cup will take place on Monday

England and New Zealand could face a quickfire rematch in the unlikely setting of London's Tate Modern gallery on Monday.

Barely 48 hours after England rocked the rugby world to its core by memorably ending the All Blacks' 20-Test unbeaten record, they are set to take centre stage again.

This time it will be at the pool draw for the 2015 World Cup - and they could end up in the same group.

Despite England's stunning 38-21 victory over New Zealand on Saturday, it was not enough to secure a top-four seeding, with those positions occupied by the All Blacks, South Africa, Australia and France.

England will be in tier two alongside Ireland, Samoa and Argentina, while last year's World Cup semi-finalists Wales dropped into tier three alongside Italy, Tonga and Scotland as a result of losing to Australia.

The identities of eight remaining teams will be confirmed by World Cup qualifying games for a tournament that sees England as host nation and starts on September 18, 2015.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson will be involved in the draw, where he will be joined by Rugby World Cup chairman Bernard Lapasset, England Rugby 2015 chief executive Debbie Jevans and New Zealand's 2011 World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw, among others.

Wales reached the quarter-finals from a pool that included South Africa and Samoa in New Zealand last year, before bowing out by a point to semi-final opponents France after skipper Sam Warburton was sent off midway through the first half.

Ireland, meanwhile, should feel reasonably confident whoever they draw, given a largely convincing autumn series that concluded with them defeating Rugby Championship newcomers Argentina in impressive fashion.

Scotland, though, after losing successive November fixtures to New Zealand, South Africa and Tonga - then seeing head coach Andy Robinson resign as a result - will go into the draw as 12th and last seeds.

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