England will need to emerge from arguably the toughest 2019 World Cup pool when they bid for global glory in Japan.
Wednesday’s pool draw at the Kyoto State Guest House saw Eddie Jones’ men grouped alongside France and Argentina.
The group is completed by two qualifiers – from the Americas and Oceania – with those places possibly being filled by the United States and Fiji or Samoa.
At the 2015 tournament, England were grouped with Australia and Wales and failed to reach the knockout phase, making unwanted history as the first Rugby World Cup host nation not to secure a last-eight spot.
Under the impressive guidance of Australian Jones, though, England embarked on a long unbeaten run that ended in March with defeat to Ireland, and have won two successive Six Nations titles, so they are likely to start the tournament as group favourites.
But France are showing signs of considerable improvement under new head coach Guy Noves, and Argentina are consistent top-drawer World Cup performers.
Ireland and Scotland were pooled together at the draw, with Japan also in their pool.
Ireland will be favourites to win Pool A as they set about trying to improve a World Cup record that has never seen them progress beyond the quarter-finals.
Host nation Japan are likely to feature strongly, though, while Scotland, who beat Japan in the 2015 pool stage, will not lack confidence. The group also includes the top European qualifier, possibly Romania, and a play-off winner completing the picture.
Culled from: The Telegraph