DURBAN – The good news is that the Springboks have been drawn in a pool that should see them advance to the quarter-finals of the 2019 Rugby Cup in Japan.
The bad news is that they are unlikely to win Pool B, which includes defending champions New Zealand, the No 1 ranked team in the world.
The World Cup draw was held in Kyoto, Japan on Wednesday and the Boks (ranked seventh on the IRB rankings) were pooled with New Zealand, Italy (ranked 15th) and two minnow countries still to be confirmed. They will be qualifiers from Africa and Europe.
Despite the Boks having lost to Italy last year, Bok supporters will surely believe their team will beat the Italians, not to mention the qualifiers, but will lose to the All Blacks (on current form).
That would mean the Boks, as runners-up of Pool B, would play the winners of another pool. At the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the winners of Pool A played the runners-up of Pool B, and if the format remains the same, that means the Boks could play one of the Pool A favourites in Ireland, Scotland.
2019 Rugby World Cup:
Pool A: Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Europe 1, Play-off Winner
Pool B: New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Africa 1, Repechage Winner
Pool C: England, France, Argentina, Americas 1, Oceania 2
Pool D: Australia, Wales, Georgia, Oceania 1, Americas 2