Argentina have been drawn into arguably the toughest group for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, after being picked to face England and France from pool C.
The draw took place in the early hours of Wednesday morning in Kyoto, Japan and pits Los Pumas against 2003 World Cup champions England, three-time finalists France and the winners of the North American qualifiers (USA or Canada), as well as the second-placed team from Oceania’s qualifying (Fiji, Tonga or Samoa).
On the surface, Argentina (ranked ninth in the world rankings) will be disappointed with the hand they’ve been dealt, however their ending up as part of the ever-feared ‘group of death‘ was always a likely outcome – Los Pumas found themselves in the third pooling tier after defeats to England, Scotland and Wales in November’s internationals period, meaning they would inevitably be drawn against two higher ranked teams.
Argentina will have the chance to scope out their opposition next month, however, as Eddie Jones’ England cross the pond to play two test matches against Daniel Hourcarde’s side, in two test matches to be played in San Juan (10th) and Santa Fe (17th).
Argentina lost 27-14 last time out, although may have a better chance of victory on this occasion as many of England’s best will be rested, ahead of the British & Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand this summer.
“I want teams to be worried that they have drawn Argentina,” said head coach Hourcarde ahead of the draw, and France may certainly feel that way considering Los Pumas’ World Cup record against them. Back when France hosted the championships in 2007, Argentina defeated los galos twice – 17-12 in the group stages and 34-10 in the ‘bronze-medal’ match.
They can also take encouragement from their performance at 2015’s edition, which took place in the UK – Argentina reached the semi-finals before going out to Australia in London.
The other groups read as folows:
— Los Pumas (@lospumas) May 10, 2017