The fixtures and locations for the 2019 Rugby World Cup have been confirmed in Japan on Thursday morning.
With the pools already drawn up, it was simply a case of working out the logistics of who plays where and when, in a series of fixtures that could greatly impact who qualifies for the knockout stages.
The opening match of the tournament will see hosts Japan take on EUROPE 1 (probably Romania but that will be confirmed by next March) in Tokyo on Friday, 20th September 2019.
Japanese audiences’ first chance to see defending champions New Zealand in action will come the next day as they take on South Africa in a repeat of their 2015 semi-final.
Ireland’s opening clash of the tournament will see them come up against Scotland in Yokohama on September 22nd, while England face Tonga the same day in Sapporo (with a potential group decider against France to round of their set of group fixtures).
Wales, meanwhile, face Georgia in Aichi on September 23rd in their tournament opener.
(Image Credit: World Rugby)
The knockout stages have also taken shape, and Ireland will be desperate to win Pool A, not least because it avoids a potential quarter-final against likely Pool B winners New Zealand – not that a clash against South Africa would be a walk in the park either.
England, meanwhile, look set to take on either Australia or Wales if they see off France and Argentina to win Pool C, the pool of death.