Tuesday 23 July 2019

Pool-by-pool Guide to Japan 2019

Italy head coach Conor O'Shea. Photo: Sportsfile
Italy head coach Conor O'Shea. Photo: Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportdesk

Pool A

Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Europe 1, play-off winner

Ireland's dream pool sees them come up against hosts Japan and old foes Scotland, who they haven't faced at a World Cup since 1991. Romania and Tonga are favourites to join them in the pool.

They said: "Ireland have been one of the most competitive and most improved sides over the past few years and a lot of that is to do with their quality of players and the influence of head coach Joe Schmidt" - Scotland coach Gregor Townsend

Pool B

New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Africa 1, Repechage 1

Steve Hansen gave a wink when he saw South Africa's name drawn in his side's pool and the All Blacks coach will be confident of topping the group despite being pitted against their biggest rivals. Spare a thought for Conor O'Shea, whose Italy side have been pitted with a nightmare pool. Namibia and Uruguay could make up the numbers.

They said: "It's incredible, it's exciting, we're playing against multiple world cup winners and you want to be playing against those. Our focus is not going to be any different. We're making a lot of changes in Italian rugby." - Italy coach Conor O'Shea

Pool C

England, France, Argentina, Americas 1, Oceania 2

The pool of death for England once again, although closer inspection suggests that this won't be as tough as meeting Australia and Wales in 2015. France are not the force of old, while Argentina have struggled to match their form from that tournament. Throw in Samoa and the US Eagles and there'll be plenty of big hits.

They said: "Who's calling it the group of death? No one's going to die. You can look in two ways - it's a difficult pool or it's a great pool - but you've just go to get through it. My experience in World Cups is that to have two tough games is the best preparation to go through" - England coach Eddie Jones

Pool D

Australia, Wales, Georgia, Oceania 1, Americas 2

Australia and Wales meet again but this time the lack of a third strong Tier One nation will ease the minds of Michael Cheika and Warren Gatland. Georgia may be on the decline having lost Mamuka Gorgodze, but Fiji will add to something. Canada should complete the quintet.

They said: "You've got to plan for those teams you're playing, do the homework, but at the end of the day, it's going to be all about how we play." - Australia coach Michael Cheika

Path to the final

Quarter-final 1: Winner Pool A v runner-up Pool B

Quarter-final 2: Winner Pool B v runner-up Pool A

Quarter-final 3: Winner Pool C v runner-up Pool D

Quarter-final 4: Winner Pool D v runner-up Pool C

Semi-final 1: Winners QF 1 v QF 3

Semi-final 2: Winners QF 2 v QF 3

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