Cape Town - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee is not perturbed after his team was drawn in the same pool as world champions New Zealand for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The Springboks were drawn in Pool B for the 2019 showpiece, alongside the All Blacks, Italy and two yet to be determined nations (Africa 1 and Repechage winner).
Coetzee attended the draw in Kyoto, Japan along with representatives from the other 11 qualified teams and said afterwards he was satisfied with the pool allocation.
“As I said before the draw was made - to us it doesn't matter who we are drawn against, because to win the Rugby World Cup, you have to beat the best teams out there,” Coetzee said on Wednesday.
“The pools consist of five teams each and history shows that you need to win at least three of your four pool matches to be sure of a place in the playoffs. We will focus on our journey towards the RWC 2019 and make sure we are ready and well prepared.
“We’ve been working hard since arriving back from the 2016 outgoing tour to ensure improved results from now on forward, with the Rugby World Cup on the distant horizon.
“If ever there was testimony that the gap between the top teams have closed, then we saw that at the over the past few months in the northern hemisphere. With New Zealand established as the number one side, there is also very little to choose between the top sides in the world, while the next batch of teams continue to improve.”
The Boks and All Blacks have clashed four times in Rugby World Cups before, with two victories each - South Africa won the final in 1995 (15-12) and the third-place playoff match in 1999 (22-18), while New Zealand came out tops in the quarter-final in 2003 (29-9) and the semi-final in 2015 (20-18).
Rugby World Cup 2019 pools:
Pool A: Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Europe 1, Playoff winner
Pool B: New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Africa 1, Repechage winner
Pool C: England, France, Argentina, Americas 1, Oceania 2
Pool D: Australia, Wales, Georgia, Oceania 1, Americas 2