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Horror draw for Wallabies at World Cup

Three into two will not go ... Australia, England and Wales drawn together in Group A.

Three into two will not go ... Australia, England and Wales drawn together in Group A. Photo: AFP

LONDON: Australia face arguably their toughest road yet to Rugby World Cup glory after drawing England and Wales in the pool stages of the 2015 tournament.

The Wallabies now face pool matches at two of the most intimidating northern hemisphere rugby venues - potentially playing host nation England at Twickenham and Wales at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, after the Welsh Rugby Union agreed to host some tournament fixtures.

The draw, which took place at London's Tate Modern art gallery, means one of international rugby's traditionally top nations will not make it through to the quarter-finals.

Rivals ... Stuart Lancaster (England), Robbie Deans (Australia) and Warren Gatland (Wales) pose with the Webb Ellis trophy.

Rivals ... Stuart Lancaster (England), Robbie Deans (Australia) and Warren Gatland (Wales) pose with the Webb Ellis trophy. Photo: Getty Images

It also pits the three sides against the top non-automatically qualified Pacific nation, which will probably be Fiji.

The try by Wallabies playmaker Kurtley Beale in the final 20 seconds against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday made this draw possible. Beale's try ensured the Wallabies a 14-12 victory and also sent Wales out of the top eight in the world rankings and into the third tier of seeds for the World Cup.

Elsewhere, reigning world champions New Zealand will play Argentina and Tonga in pool C, South Africa will play Samoa and Scotland in pool B and France will play Ireland and Italy in pool D. Two extra teams will be added to each pool based on qualifying rounds yet to be played.

Bernard Lapasset, chairman of Rugby World Cup, draws Australia.

Bernard Lapasset, chairman of Rugby World Cup, draws Australia. Photo: David Rogers

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said the draw could be seen as the toughest in the competition, but there was no simple path through to the final.

"When you look at the sides and you look at history that's an easy suggestion to make, but they're all tough," Deans said. "The fact of the matter is once you get into the tournament there's no such thing as an easy draw."

"It's a pretty tough pool," England coach Stuart Lancaster said. "Wales, I've got a huge amount of respect for what they've done recently. Australia have just beaten us and are an incredibly competitive nation. We'll look forward to it in a few years' time."

Australia has not met England in the pool stages of a Rugby World Cup since facing them at Concord Oval in Sydney during the inaugural tournament in 1987. The Wallabies won that match 19-6 and advanced through the knock-out stages before losing to France 30-24 in the semi-final. England lost to Wales in the quarter-finals before Wales beat Australia 22-21 in the third-place playoff.

Australia beat England in the final of the 1991 tournament, but have since had no luck against their arch rival, losing the final in Sydney in 2003 and two quarter-finals in 1995 and 2007.

Wales and Australia have played each other twice in the pool stages, both times in Cardiff in 1991 and in 2007, with the Wallabies victorious on both occasions.

The Wallabies also beat both sides in their spring tour matches played over the past three weeks. Australia beat Wales 14-12 at Cardiff on Saturday, their eighth straight win over the side and their fourth this year.

A fortnight earlier they bounced back from an ugly defeat at the hands of France with a 20-14 win against England at Twickenham. However, England sent an ominous warning on Saturday after they upset the world champion All Blacks 38-21.

Wallabies flanker David Pocock said it was impossible to predict how the fortunes of any side would pan out over the next three years.

"Having the host nation in your pool is going to create a bit of a buzz, particularly around that game," Pocock said.

"As Robbie said there's going to be no easy games and to win the tournament you have to beat the best and deal with what you're dealt."

113 comments

  • Quater finals are:
    England vs France
    Wales vs Ireland
    New Zealand vs South Africa
    Argentina vs Samoa

    Semis:
    England vs Wales
    New Zealand vs Samoa

    Final:
    England vs New Zealand

    I expect the same amount of Wayne Barnes/Bryce Lawrence officiating during the pool/knock out stages to make this (or another iteration of this) happen. Sadly Aussie - you're not getting out of the pool in 2015.

    But I find it ironic that after the game went professional every Quarter/Semi has been North vs. North and South vs South making the Final game North vs South. I guess it's better for Global TV revenue.

    Commenter
    theDiff
    Location
    Auckland
    Date and time
    December 04, 2012, 6:50AM
    • You must be stirring, so we won't feed the troll.

      Commenter
      PJ man
      Location
      NSW
      Date and time
      December 04, 2012, 7:27AM
    • Ya dreaming mate ! Oz will be there for the final & repeat what we did there last time !! Remember you guys can choke at any stage & should not get carried away by beating France by a point this last cup ! You have won it twice both on home soil ! We have won twice away & will do it again ! Want a bet three years out ?

      Commenter
      spilla
      Location
      NZ
      Date and time
      December 04, 2012, 7:32AM
    • With the tournament being 3 years off, this can only be loosely based on home ground advantage.
      The good news is that if Australia are good enough to make it through the group stage, they will meet the Kiwis in the final!

      Commenter
      Ben
      Date and time
      December 04, 2012, 7:48AM
    • It's good to see the whining has started already. ...poor leaderless Wallabies, horrible nasty useless Deans, unfair draw, everything is against us our team is doomed to failure.

      Oh me oh my how unfair it is that a useless Kiwi is the coach of our great team of champions. If we just had a Australian coach we would be unbeatable! ...it's all Deans fault!

      What a pack of sooks ...I haven't heard so much whining since my old Ford Falcon run out of oil in the diff.

      cheers,
      Pedro

      Commenter
      Pedro The 1st
      Date and time
      December 04, 2012, 7:53AM
    • Thanks for that Auckland, it's that kind of thinking that has kept the kiwis away from WC victory for so many years. And this time NZ won't have the benefit of a dodgy ref to get them over the line at home. Its an away tournament, you'll lose. Should I now log onto a NZ paper and comment on the kiwis chances in test cricket and soccer?

      Commenter
      Syd
      Location
      Syd
      Date and time
      December 04, 2012, 7:58AM
    • We Kiwis are simply the best at rugby. Aussie wont make it out of the group, and you will be lucky to win a game the way you lot play. You gotta understand, Kiwis are really awesome at rugby and we are the envy of the world, unlike you Aussies.

      Commenter
      Evan
      Location
      Waikato
      Date and time
      December 04, 2012, 8:13AM
    • Evan @ Waikato

      Kiwis are simply the best at trying to get Australia to pay attention to them by posting on their local newpaper sites. You gotta understand, we know you've got a good rugby team, but we also know you're pretty crap at cricket and a joke at soccer. You'd be the envy of the world if you wearn' also incredibly insecure as a nation and kept trying to impress your bigger brother Australia, desipte your rugby sucess.

      Commenter
      Syd
      Location
      Syd
      Date and time
      December 04, 2012, 8:30AM
    • @Syd

      fuzzy logic buddy. Didn't your cricket team lose a test to a "pretty crap" NZ last year? And were Australia not just hammered by South Africa? Oh, and didn't NZ do well at the London Olympics for a nation of only 4 million, compared to Australia's pitiful effort for a much larger population who have bottomless funding programs and high performance centres.
      Then there is the soccer world cup last year - didn't NZ do quite well there too, for a "joke" of a soccer side.
      By the way, who is the defending world cup champions in league? Not aussie that's for sure.
      And which team has won your national basketball league for the past few seasons? Oh, that's right, that was a kiwi team too.
      Tough time for you aussies at the moment I'd say. So how about you stop picking on the little guy and let him be. We're quite happy us kiwi's because for a tiny little isle at the bottom of the world with a population of only 4 million we constantly punch above our weight and celebrate our success. The world marvels in our ability to perform on the world stage given our standing.
      I think you sound a tad insecure and disconcerted because Australian sporting sides are struggling at present.

      Commenter
      The good doctor
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      December 04, 2012, 9:38AM
    • Wiiner of final? I'll put in an early bet :-)

      Commenter
      Pacman
      Date and time
      December 04, 2012, 9:58AM

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