Rugby World Cup 2015: England draw Wales and Australia
Rugby World Cup 2015: Hosts England drawn with Wales and Australia in the pool stages of the tournament
Hosts England will face reigning RBS 6 Nations champions Wales and Australia in the pool stages of the 2015 World Cup following the draw in London.
Stuart Lancaster’s side, who thumped defending world champions New Zealand 38-21 at Twickenham on Saturday, will also face the Oceania 1 qualifier and the play-off winner in Pool A.
It will be the first time England have met Wales in a World Cup qualifying pool but the Red Rose did defeat their Six Nations rivals at the quarter-final stage on their way to winning the 2003 tournament.
Pool D also has a Six Nations look to it with France, Ireland and Italy all drawn together along with the Europe 2 and Americas 1 qualifiers.
France reached the final of the World Cup in New Zealand last year, going down 8-7 to the hosts at Eden Park.
To retain their crown the All Blacks must first progress from a group containing Argentina, Tonga, Asia 1 and Americas 2.
After the departure of Andy Robinson, Scotland’s new coach will need to prepare his side to face South Africa and Samoa as well as Asia 1 and Americas 2 in Pool C.
Following the draw England coach Stuart Lancaster admitted his side faced a tough task to progress but claimed he couldn’t wait for it to begin.
“It is definitely a pretty tough pool. To win the World Cup you have to win big games and I have got a huge amount of respect for what Wales have done recently,” he said.
“We know their squad pretty well, it is a young side and a lot of them will still be around in 2015. Australia have just beaten us and if you look at the age and profile of their squad, they have got some young lads as well. We will look forward to it.
“It is unbelievably exciting. Twelve months ago I went out to New Zealand for two weeks and got a little sample of what it is like and the impact on that country.
“We have seen what the Olympic Games did for our country and the next big sporting event is the 2015 Rugby World Cup. By that time everybody is going to be revved up and it’s going to be a big party.”
Rugby World Cup 2015 pools
Pool A: Australia, England, Wales, Oceania 1, play-off winner
Pool B: South Africa, Samoa, Scotland, Asia 1, Americas 2
Pool C: New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga, Europe 1, Africa 1
Pool D: France, Ireland, Italy, Americas 1, Europe 2