Boks face Samoa in Pool
The draw for the 2015 Rugby World Cup has been made, with the Springboks handed Samoa and Scotland in their Pool at the tournament.
South Africa, currently second in the International Rugby Board’s world rankings, were Rugby World Cup winners in 1995 and 2007.
It’s the fourth consecutive time that the Springboks have been drawn in the same pool with Samoa, and the second time they are in the same group as Scotland, as in 1999.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, who attended the draw at the Tate Modern in London, was satisfied with the pool allocation.
“Our aim was to be in the first band of teams and we achieved that, moving from fourth at the start of the year to second in the IRB world rankings,” said Meyer.
“As I said before the draw was made – to us it doesn't matter who we are drawn against, because to win the World Cup, you have to beat the best teams out there.
“If ever there was testimony that the gap between the top teams have closed, we saw that over the past month in the Northern Hemisphere. There really is very little to choose between the top sides in the world, while the next batch of teams has also improved a lot recently.”
Promptly named the 'Pool of Death', host nation England were pulled out of the container along with Wales and Australia.
Current holders New Zealand find themselves alongside Argentina and Tonga, while South Africa meet Samoa and Scotland in Pool C.
The final Pool has a largely Six Nations feel to it as France, Ireland and Italy are drawn together.
The eight remaining teams will come from a series of global qualifying matches that started in Mexico in March and will culminate in 2014.
The quarter-final draw could see New Zealand up against either France, who knocked them out in the last eight in 2007, or an improving Ireland.
Meanwhile the winners of England, Australia or Wales will face Pool B's runners-up, who on current form are likely to be Samoa or Scotland.
Whoever wins Pool A will avoid New Zealand until the final provided the All Blacks, as they have done at every previous World Cup, win their group.
The Pool B winners will face Pool A's runners-up with the winners of a Pool D, where France will be favourites, facing the runners-up from Pool C, likely to be either Argentina or Tonga.
The 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, the eighth edition of the tournament, will run from September 18 to October 31, 2015, with the final set to be played at Twickenham.
RWC 2015 Pools:
Pool A: Australia, England, Wales, Oceana 1, Play-off winner
Pool B: South Africa, Samoa, Scotland, Asia 1, Americas 2
Pool C: New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga, Europe 1, Africa 1
Pool D: France, Ireland, Italy, Americas 1, Europe 2
At the draw it was also confirmed that the knockout phase structure will stay the same:
QF1: Winner Pool B v Runner-up Pool A
QF2: Winner Pool C v Runner-up Pool D
QF3: Winner Pool A v Runner-up Pool B
QF4: Winner Pool D v Runner-up Pool C
SF1: Winner QF1 v Winner QF2
SF2: Winner QF3 v Winner QF4
Bronze Final: Loser SF1 v Loser SF2
Final: Winner SF1 v Winner SF2