Here is the full draw for the 2019 Rugby World Cup:
Europe 1 (could be Romania or even Germany)
Playoff-winner (Oceania 3 or Europe 2 which could be Tonga or Germany/Spain)
This could actually be a pool of near-death as a lot of teams could actually end up about the same level if Ireland drop their game a bit and Japan and, say, Romania raise theirs (which they will). With Georgia already qualified in Pool D, whoever comes through is likely to be making a big step up, there’s really nothing to fear though for our lads. They should feel they can top this group, although a lot will depend on squad depth. Ireland will of course feel the same and there’s a good bet that runner-up gets you a Quarter Final with the All Blacks. By 2019 Japan won’t be taken for granted, on home turf they’ll want to turn both us and Ireland over and get out of the group stages, especially as they will likely have the opening game. Which brings the prospect of an upset with the world watching…
Africa 1 (Namibia or Kenya most likely)
Two heavyweights but not much that will trouble either lurking below, unless Conor O’Shea works miracles and beats South Africa again. Both big names will probably go through to face the runner-up/winner of Pool A.
Americas 1 (Canada?)
Oceania 2 (Fiji?)
Depending on who comes out as Oceania 2 this could end up as a fairly sticky group. Certainly it’s the toughest to pick a top 2 from and there will be 3 physical encounters. Plus, historical grudges.
Oceania 1 (Samoa?)
Americas 2 (USA/Uruguay?)
Adding say Samoa and Canada into this group could make it interesting but it’s tough to see Georgia doing enough to stop Wales and Australia getting through. 2 years is a long time though…
Before the draw was held, a meeting of the World Rugby Council voted unanimously to increase Regulation 8 residency periods from 3 years to 5 years, or as they put it to ensure “that a player has a genuine, close, credible and established link with the nation of representation”.
The key amendments agreed upon, including that one, are:
- The 36-month residency requirement is increased to 60 months with effect from 31 December, 2020 (unanimously approved)
- The addition of a residency criteria which permits players who have 10 years of cumulative residency to be eligible (effective May 10, 2017) (unanimously approved)
- Unions may no longer nominate their U20s team as their next senior national representative team (effective 1 January, 2018) (majority)
- Sevens players will only be captured for the purposes of Regulation 8 where the player has represented either of (i) the senior national representative sevens team of a union where the player has reached the age of 20 on or before the date of participation; or (ii) the national representative sevens team of a union in the Olympic Games or Rugby World Cup Sevens, having reached the age of majority on or before the date of participation in such tournament (effective 1 July, 2017) (majority)
That means any 3 year “projects” that begin in the next 6 or 7 months would still qualify in time for the rule change (but maybe not the World Cup), and all our existing players will remain Scottish qualified.
Oh, and Shingler would have been ours. OURS!