Hosts are to face Aussies, Wales in World Cup pool
HOST nation England have been drawn in the same 2015 Rugby World Cup pool as Wales and Australia.
The draw, which took place in London yesterday, presents Stuart Lancaster's team with a tough task, although they avoided world champions New Zealand, who they beat at Twickenham on Saturday.
England's group – Pool A – will be completed by two qualifiers, Oceania 1 (probably Fiji) and the play-off winner, possibly Uruguay.
Ireland have landed France, Italy, Americas 1 and Europe 2 in Pool D, while Scotland are in with Pool B rivals South Africa, Samoa, Asia 1 and Americas 2.
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The All Blacks, meanwhile, look to have secured the easiest pool, being bracketed alongside Argentina, Tonga, Europe 1 and Africa 1.
The tournament kicks off on September 18, 2015, with Twickenham staging the final six weeks later.
Derby County's Pride Park Stadium is among 17 possible venues for the event, which will be cut to 12 next year.
"It is definitely a pretty tough pool," said Lancaster.
"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.
"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 some young lads as well.
"It is unbelievably exciting. 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."