KYOTO, Japan – The Springboks will face New Zealand and Italy in the opening stage of the 2019 Rugby World Cup after being drawn in Pool B for the tournament.
The draw for the World Cup, which will be the first ever hosted in Asia, was conducted in Kyoto, Japan on Wednesday.
Apart from the defending champions and Italy, the Boks were also grouped with the Africa 1 qualifier and the winner of the repechage qualification tournament – both of which are yet to be decided.
England and France were drawn in the same pool alongside Argentina as they were handed a tough assignment for the tournament, while hosts Japan got a kinder draw against Ireland and Scotland.
England's draw in Pool C alongside age-old rivals France, and 2015 semi-finalists Argentina, evoked memories of their nightmare showing four years ago.
On home turf, the 2003 champions embarrassingly failed to reach the knock-outs after landing in a group with Wales, Australia, Fiji and Uruguay.
In 2015 World Cup A and B faced off quarters and C and D. If same in 2019, @Springboks will play against Ireland, Scotland or Japan.
Twelve teams were included in Wednesday's draw by virtue of finishing in the top three of their groups at the 2015 tournament.
Another eight teams from Oceania, Europe, the Americas and Africa will be added after qualifying for the tournament in Japan in two years' time.