Ireland have been given what could turn out to be a tricky draw for the pool stages of the Rugby World Cup in 2019 yesterday. They will have to face Scotland and Japan, two vastly improving nations. Both countries are emerging nations who have improved vastly in recent years and have impressed people with their performances.
Scotland finished in fourth place in this years Six Nations tournament and beat Ireland 27-22 in Murrayfield. They also enjoyed victories over Wales and Italy in the tournament this year and narrowly lost to France, securing a losing bonus point in the process. The Scots who will now be led by the former Glasgow Warriors coach, Gregor Townsend, will inevitably fancy their chances having performed quite well in this years Six Nations.
Japan also are an emerging nation and enjoyed a 34-32 victory over South Africa, who ranked third in the world at the time, in the last World Cup in 2015. They also came close to beating Wales in their clash last Autumn, narrowly losing out 33-30 and will relish a chance to cause an upset with the tournament taking place there in 2019.
Speaking at the draw, Irish head coach, Joe Schmidt was rather coy about his emotions stating that he felt the pools ‘are all good, bad and ugly’ and that ‘it is very hard to assess where teams will be in two years’ time.’
England were handed probably the toughest pool having been drawn alongside both France and Argentina, whilst Australia got the easiest pool having been drawn alongside Georgia and Wales. Holders New Zealand will face South Africa and Italy.