JOHANNESBURG – The Springboks dismissal 2016 could come back to haunt them when the draw for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan takes place on May 10.
The Boks won just four of the 12 Test they played in 2016 and have since slipped to their worst ever World Rugby ranking.
As a result, South Africa has been placed in the second group of seeds for the World Cup draw and run the risk of being pooled with the All Blacks in the group stages of the tournament.
After the final round of Six Nations fixtures concluded on the weekend, New Zealand, England, Australia and Ireland have been given top seeds.
This means that Scotland, France, South Africa and Wales are in the in the second group and all are possible opponents of the All Blacks. The All Blacks are the top seeds, while also being three-time winners and defending world champions.
Following Wales’ controversial Six Nations loss to France in Paris on Saturday, Wales did not make the top group of seeds.
Hosts Japan, Argentina, Georgia and Italy are in the third group of seeds, meaning the Boks could be drawn with both New Zealand and Argentina in the same pool.
The All Blacks have a formidable 100% record in World Cup pools, but have never met South Africa before in the first round of fixtures.
All four of the previous meetings between the Boks and All Blacks have been in the knock-out phases.
In 1995 they met in the memorable final, in 1999 in the bronze match, in 2003 in the quarter-final and in 2015 in the semi-final.