A rundown of the Rugby World Cup groups for the 2019 tournament in Japan

Rugby World Cup Groups

The 2019 Rugby World Cup runs from Friday 20 September to Saturday 2 November, with games played across Japan. This page has all you need to know with regards the four pools at the tournament.

There are 20 teams involved in the World Cup, divided into four groups of five, and the two teams that finish top of the table in their pool after the group matches progress to the quarter-finals.

Twelve teams qualified automatically for RWC 2019 by finishing in the top three of their groups at the 2015 tournament in England. Those teams are New Zealand, who won back-to-back titles and are looking to secure a hat-trick in 2019, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, England, Georgia, Japan and Italy.

Related: 2019 Rugby World Cup fixtures

The original pool draw was made in May 2017, with the 12 qualified teams split into various bands depending on their World Rugby Ranking at the time, with New Zealand, England, Australia and Ireland in the top band.

Rugby World Cup Groups

Line-ups: The Rugby World Cup groups after the pool draw in May 2017 (Getty Images)

Since then, the USA have qualified as Americas 1 and Uruguay have qualified as Americas 2, while Fiji and Tonga made it to the finals as Oceania 1 and Oceania 2 respectively.

After much controversy in the Rugby Europe Championship, which doubles a World Cup qualifier, Russia made it through to Japan as Europe 1.


The Africa 1 qualifier will be determined in the summer of 2018, with the winner of the Africa Gold Cup, which involves Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe, going into Pool B.

The other two places go to the Play-off Winner and the Repechage Winner. The Play-off Winner should be known by early July 2018 and will be the victor on aggregate of a two-legged play-off between Samoa and either Germany or Portugal, who are due to play on 9 June.

The Repechage tournament will be played in late 2018 and involves four teams – Canada, the loser of the Play-off, the runner-up in the Africa Gold Cup and either the Cook Islands or the winner of the Asia Rugby Championship, who play each other over two legs on 30 June and 7 July.

These are the Rugby World Cup groups for Japan 2019 as they stand:

Pool A






Pool B

New Zealand

South Africa


Africa 1

Repechage Winner

Pool C






Pool D






Rugby World will bring you all the latest developments in the lead-up to the 2019 World Cup in Japan and at the tournament itself.

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