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Ireland draw World Cup inspiration


By Jonathan Bradley

Ireland were yesterday handed a dream draw for the 2019 Rugby World Cup after being placed in Pool A alongside Scotland and Japan.

Joe Schmidt's side avoided South Africa, France and Wales by landing Scotland, while the meeting with hosts Japan meant they would not be handed the tough assignment of Argentina, the side who knocked them out of the competition in 2015.

The pool will be completed by two qualifiers, most likely to be Romania and Tonga although much could change before that line-up is finalised.

"It's very hard to assess where teams are going to be in two years' time," said Schmidt. "We've seen the upward curve that Japan have taken in recent times.

"We lost to Scotland recently, so it's a mixed bag, but I think it's incredibly exciting to draw the host nation."

England were handed the traditional 'pool of death', and will have to tackle both France and Argentina.

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