Sports

Eddie Jones: Group of death will help England

The pooling was done on Wednesday in Japan where the Africa victor, hopefully Kenya Simbas, will play reigning champions New Zealand, South Africa and a repechage victor.

England will be hoping to do better the time round, after a awful performance in the last World Cup, when they became the first team to host the tournament and exit before the knockout stages.

Japan, the first Asian country to host the tournament, are in Pool A with Ireland and Scotland, while two-time victor Australia will take on Wales and Georgia in Pool D.

Wales lost to Australia during the 2015 World Cup, and they also face tough opposition from rapidly-improving Georgia, whom Wales meet for the first time during their autumn Test schedule later this year.

"Everyone will get excited by it, and we know each other pretty well so we'll just continue to get to understand each other before we get here", Hansen said.

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"England were, with New Zealand, the scarecrow that everyone wanted to avoid".

But, looking at the bigger picture, Hansen was hoping the ninth World Cup - and first staged in Asia - would successfully grow the game.

In Pool D, two-time winners Australia were drawn against Wales and Georgia. "It's an exciting place to come to and we all wish it the best".

"Our pool is very balanced and will allow us to have tough matches from the start of the tournament".

England went on an 18-match winning streak after being knocked out of their own tournament at the pool stage in 2015, when they were grouped with Australia and Wales.

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And we defended well after that, kept it tight, and we didn't give away many chances at all. "We will push hard on Tuesday night". I'm happy with them and I think they're happy with us at the moment - so that's a good thing.

Noves, by contrast, pulled few punches as he looked ahead to the 2019 tournament in Japan.

The 2003 champions face another tough campaign in two years' time against three-times runners-up France and Argentina, who have reached the semi-finals in two of the last three tournaments.

Australia's other two Pool D opponents are likely to be either Fiji or Samoa from Oceania and either the U.S. or Canada from the Americas qualifying competition. "This is even more of a thrill than when I played Super Mario at the Rio Olympics", he said, referring to his closing-ceremony appearance dressed as the popular video game character. We will get to understand each other a bit more over the next two years before we play here in 2019.

The Springboks have beaten the All Blacks twice at the World Cup (1995 final and 1999 bronze medal place) and pushed the world champions in an intense clash in the semifinal stage in 2015.

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