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Pumas' low ranking adds World Cup intrigue

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/05/2017

A group of death involving the All Blacks, South Africa and Argentina is a distinct possibility when the draw for the 2019 Rugby World Cup pool stage is made in Kyoto on Wednesday evening (NZT).

With Argentina falling to ninth in the World Rugby rankings, and thus into the third-seed bracket, at least one of the four five-team pools is likely to be stacked with tier-one quality outfits.

For the All Blacks, a top-seeded side and the defending world champions, that could entail a range of possibilities.

They will automatically avoid England, Australia and Ireland as fellow top seeds, but must play one of Scotland, Wales, France or the Springboks, who sit in the second-seed bracket.

Italy, Georgia and hosts Japan join Los Pumas as third seeds.

As a result, the All Blacks could find themselves in an all-SANZAAR showdown with the Springboks and Pumas, or a tango with a pair of Six Nations sides.

The potential banana skins of Georgia and Japan, who trumped South Africa in the pool stages of the 2015 tournament, also spell danger.

The final two places in each pool will be determined through qualifiers, which began in 2016 - and will likely include the likes of Samoa, Fiji and Tonga.

New Zealand were drawn with Argentina, Georgia, Tonga and Namibia in 2015.

RUGBY WORLD CUP 2019 DRAW:

BAND ONE - New Zealand, England, Australia, Ireland

BAND TWO - Scotland, France, South Africa, Wales

BAND THREE - Argentina, Japan, Georgia, Italy.

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