RWC draw date announced

2012-05-21 22:00

Dublin - The draw for pool allocation for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England will be held in London on December 3, the International Rugby Board (IRB) announced on Monday.

As was the case for the 2011 tournament, the 12 automatically qualified teams will be seeded based on the IRB World Rankings on December 3, 2012 and positioned into three bands of four teams, the IRB said.

The teams will then be randomly drawn by band into the four pools.

"The format of seeding teams for the Rugby World Cup pool allocation draw using the IRB World Rankings is a credible, succinct and proven method that reflects form, stimulates interest and is backed by our unions," said IRB chief Bernard Lapasset.

"With every Test match played between now and the draw counting towards the IRB World Rankings the pool allocation draw adds an extra dimension to a mouth-watering year that features the new tours and Test schedule as well as Argentina's inclusion in the new Rugby Championship."

The 2015 World Cup in England will comprise 20 teams allocated into four pools: 12 teams that automatically qualified from the 2011 tournament in New Zealand; and eight teams that will come through the 2015 World Cup global qualifier process which kicked off in March this year.

The 12 automatic qualifiers are 2011 World Cup winners New Zealand, runners-up France, losing semi-finalists Australia and Wales, losing quarter-finalists Argentina, England, Ireland and South Africa. Tonga, Scotland, Italy and Samoa all also qualify after having finished in third place in their respective pools.

The 2015 edition of rugby union's showcase tournament will feature four pools of five teams, with each team banded according to strength to try and ensure evenly matched pools.

The 12 directly qualified teams will be allocated into the top three bands for the random draw using the IRB World Rankings of December 3 as follows:

Band 1 - The four highest ranked directly qualified teams

Band 2 - The next four highest ranked directly qualified teams

Band 3 - The final four directly qualified teams

Band 4 - Oceania 1, Europe 1, Asia 1, Americas 1

Band 5 - Africa 1, Europe 2, Americas 2, Repechage winner