This morning saw the time, dates and venues for all of the 2019 Rugby World Cup pool fixtures released so supporters can now start organising what will be a memorable trip to Japan in two year’s time.
Like with any tournament which sees a high number of fixtures take place within a short window, scheduling is hugely important. Factors like dates in which you face certain opposition, match locations and rest days between fixtures can have a significant impact in the fortunes of a particular team.
With this in mind, we take a look at the draw for Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales and we determine who has received the best outcome based on this morning’s events.
Ireland have been drawn along Scotland in Pool A and they will also face Japan, Europe 1 and the play-off winner. Ireland will be up against Scotland first before they take on Japan and then they will face the remaining two, yet to be determined teams.
Although it could be considered daunting to be taking on the next strongest team in the pool as your first game, this is a good draw for Ireland. We saw Ireland play France in their final Pool game in the 2015 World Cup which yielded a number of injuries, in addition to a huge outlay of emotional energy.
This had a massive effect on Ireland’s performance against Argentina in the quarter-finals, where they were soundly beaten. This draw allows Ireland a nice period of time against the minnows of the group to prepare for a likely quarter-final against South Africa or New Zealand.
On paper, Wales have a pretty good draw. They start their pool campaign against Georgia, who will prove to be a challenge but ultimately you would expect Wales to dispatch them comfortablly enough. This will provide the perfect platform to take on Michael Cheika’s Wallabies in the next fixture before they face Fiji. They will likely have the opportunity to rest players for their final pool match against a yet to be determined ‘Americas 2’ before they play a quarter-final against the Pool C runners-up or winners.
Gregor Towsend’s men have been drawn in Pool A alongside Ireland. They face the Irish first up before facing off against the play-off winner and the ‘Europe 1’ side. They face Japan in their final fixture and the potential difficulty of their scheduling depends on whether Japan are within a shout of the quarter-finals by the time they face the Scots.
Ultimately when you compare the draw to that of England’s, it’s not bad for Scotland and they should be confident of progressing to the last eight.
England, who have been drawn in the pool of death (for the second World Cup in succession) alongside France and Argentina, have fallen to a different fate to that of Ireland and have received a pretty nasty schedule.
The face arguably two of the most physical teams in world rugby in their final two pool fixtures – Argentina and France. Injuries are a likely outcome from these two games and Eddie Jones will certainly have to plan for this when they look set to face either Australia or Wales in the quarter-finals.
The only positive for Jones, is that England will have eight rest days leading into the Argentina fixture and six rest days leading into their final fixture against France.
You can find the schedules for all of the pools below.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) November 2, 2017