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Rugby World Cup 2019 draw: Argentina promise to light up Japan’s leap into dark

The draw for the 2019 tournament takes place on Wednesday but the prospect of a group of death holds no fears for the Pumas, the world’s ninth-ranked side

Kyoto, where the draw for the 2019 World Cup takes place on Wednesday, is known as Japan’s thousand-year capital. It is unlikely to take that long for a northern hemisphere nation to win the tournament again after England’s success 14 years ago, and for once their southern hemisphere rivals are not hogging the places at the top of the world rankings.

Holding the draw more than two years before the start of the tournament is intended to give the host nation the maximum time to sell tickets. England had even longer for the 2015 World Cup, with the pools all lined up at the end of 2012. When the hosts were grouped with Australia and Wales to ensure that either the 2007 finalists or one of the 2011 semi-finalists would not make the knockout stage, the protest was loud enough for the draw to be put back six months this time. It gave the Six Nations countries a chance to improve their positions in the rankings, although at one point Wales, after defeats by England and France, were on course to slip out of the top eight again; victory over Ireland saved them.

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