RWC Japan 2019: Rugby World Cup Pools Draw Mean Death vs Delight


DUBLIN, IRELAND – With speculation on Warren Gatland’s British & Irish Lions squad over, the European Rugby Champions Cup semi-finals concluded, the news of Super Rugby’s impending doom contraction setting in, and international rugby on hiatus until June, a look towards rugby’s biggest event seems appropriate. That’s right… let’s go ahead and take a look at the Pools Draw for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan and do some heavy speculation.

The draw itself will take place on May 10 in Kyoto and will determine just how (seemingly) easy or how difficult each pool can/will play out. So far 12 teams have qualified for Japan 2019 based on their final placing in each of the five pools at the 2015 World Cup (the top three from each pool automatically qualify for the next world cup).

That means that New Zealand, England, Australia, Ireland, Scotland, France, South Africa, Wales, Argentina, Japan, Georgia, and Italy are each guaranteed a spot in Japan each of the 12 qualified teams have been placed in three pots of four based on their world ranking as of March 18, 2017.

The eight remaining positions are awarded through regional qualifying processes in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. The regional tournaments are convoluted, so here is a graph that I’ve tried to make to help figure it all out:

The Pots

One team will be drawn from each pot and placed into a RWC pool. No two teams from the same pot will be placed in the same RWC pool.

Now it’s time for some unrestrained speculation.

Here are my way-too-early predictions for predictions for the regional qualifiers and repêchage winners: 

In my opinion, these are the best and worst draws for each of the teams in Pots 1,2 & 3:

New Zealand
Best: Scotland, Georgia, Namibia, Canada
Worst: South Africa, Argentina, Fiji, Samoa

Best: Scotland, Italy, USA, Uruguay
Worst: South Africa, Argentina, Romania, Samoa

Best: Wales, Japan, USA, Canada
Worst: South Africa, Argentina, Fiji, Samoa

Best: Scotland, Japan, USA, Canada
Worst: South Africa, Argentina, Fiji, Samoa

Best: Ireland, Japan, Namibia, Canada
Worst: New Zealand, Argentina, Fiji, Samoa

Best: England, Georgia, USA, Uruguay
Worst: New Zealand, Argentina, Romania, Tonga

South Africa
Best: Ireland, Georgia, Namibia, Canada
Worst: New Zealand, Argentina, Fiji, Samoa

Best: England, Georgia, USA, Canada
Worst: New Zealand, Argentina, Fiji, Samoa

Best Colin Ireland, Wales, Namibia, Canada
Worst: New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji, Samoa

Best: Ireland, Scotland, Namibia, Canada
Worst: New Zealand, France, Romania, Samoa

Best: Ireland, Scotland, USA, Canada
Worst: New Zealand, South Africa, Romania, Samoa

Best: Ireland, South Africa, Namibia, Canada
Worst: New Zealand, South Africa, Romania, Samoa

That’s all for now, please feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter@: @RugbyWrapUp, @Junoir Blaber, @Matt_McCarthy00 @MeetTheMatts, @Luke Bienstock, @Ronan Nelson, @Brian C Cole and @DeclanYeats.

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Irish-American Ronan Nelson is from California, is a new UCLA Bruin and is a rugby lifer. Plus he’s got two passports. But that’s just scratching the surface. He’s got more courage and resolve in his thumbnail than most of us combined. Le Wolf of Wheelchairs is a man amongst men. Check him out in this video: and follow him on Twitter: @ronan_nelson

  • Aaron

    This projection is much nicer than what I had set up based on ranking.

    • Ronan Nelson

      What changes would you make, just out of curiosity? I was very tentative on even giving Canada the repechage spot, they haven’t been very good at all except in sevens lately. I’ll wait until after the USA-Canada series to make any more judgement on them

      • Aaron

        I did it without knowing the random draw mechanism and qualification stuff…because in theory a team ranked 17th might not make the RWC. Let me see if I could find it. . .

        I came up with this in March:
        A New Zealand, Wales, Georgia, Romania, Russia
        B England, South Arica, Japan, Italy, Namibia
        C Australia, France Fiji, Samoa, Spain
        D Ireland, Scotland, Argentina, Tonga, USA

        • Ronan Nelson

          Looking at that, I honestly think that putting Spain in instead of Canada could be completely possible. I am really intrigued to see how they cope with the upcoming World Cup qualification series with the USA because that two-match series will define whether or not they make the repechage in general

          • Aaron

            I honestly think it’s going to be a sweep and it won’t be pretty. What will be telling is the match against Georgia, especially now that Gorgodze has decided to retire from international play.

  • Junoir Blaber

    I like this pool for the USA: England, Scotland, Italy, USA, Uruguay

  • 1stXV

    Can we just give Canada the Americas 1 slot now? England, France, Argentina, and probably Fiji. Good luck with that.

    Or we get Aussie, Wales, Georgia, Samoa.
    Maybe we beat Georgia.

    2023 here we come.

    • Ronan Nelson

      Haha the Americas have been officially eliminated already!

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