England-NZ rematch in World Cup draw?

Getty Images     03 Dec 2012     Getty Images

Barely 48 hours after England rocked the rugby world to its core by memorably ending the All Blacks' 20-Test unbeaten record, they are set to take centre stage again.

This time it will be at the pool draw for the 2015 World Cup - and they could end up in the same group.

Despite England's stunning 38-21 victory over New Zealand on Sunday (NZT), it was not enough to secure a top four seeding, with those positions occupied by the All Blacks, South Africa, Australia and France.

England will be in tier two alongside Ireland, Samoa and Argentina, while last year's World Cup semi-finalists Wales dropped into tier three alongside Italy, Tonga and Scotland as a result of losing to Australia yesterday.

The identities of eight remaining teams will be confirmed by World Cup qualifying games for a tournament that sees England as host nation and starts on September 18, 2015.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson will be involved in the draw, where he will be joined by Rugby World Cup chairman Bernard Lapasset, England Rugby 2015 chief executive Debbie Jevans and New Zealand's 2011 World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw, among others.

All the talk, though, will be about England's record win against the All Blacks, which suggests they could be major World Cup contenders in under three years' time.

"It was a great, great victory for the English team," England's 2003 World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward told Sportsweek on Radio Five Live.

"The scoreline absolutely reflected the performance and it was a great, great day to be at Twickenham.

"It was a real David and Goliath effort. They [England] came out and threw the kitchen sink and New Zealand got completely rattled. Every phase of the game they won.

"It makes the draw fascinating, given England have just demolished New Zealand. The top four sides will not want to be playing against England.

"The draw is really important because it shows which way you go through the quarter-finals, semi-finals.

"That one result yesterday will make the southern hemisphere teams sit up and say for once 'we want to keep away from England'."

Wales, though, face a fiendishly-tough pool - they could be drawn with New Zealand and England or South Africa and Ireland, for example - after a seventh successive defeat saw them fall outside the world's top eight nations.

But Wales halfback Mike Phillips said: "I don't think it bothers us. The World Cup is a long way off, 2015. A lot can happen between now and then.

"All you are concerned about as a player is your next game. It's your next job. The World Cup is miles away, and so is next summer's Lions tour of Australia."

And Wales centre Jonathan Davies added: "With what we did at the last World Cup, I think people will be fearing us, not the other way around.

"We had a tough group last time, so I am sure the boys will be pretty confident that whoever we draw we can compete with."

Wales reached the quarter-finals from a pool that included South Africa and Samoa in New Zealand last year, before bowing out by a point to semi-final opponents France after skipper Sam Warburton wa sent off midway through the first half.

Ireland, meanwhile, should feel reasonably confident whoever they draw, given a largely convincing autumn series that concluded with them defeating Rugby Championship newcomers Argentina in impressive fashion.

Scotland, though, after losing successive November fixtures to New Zealand, South Africa and Tonga - then seeing head coach Andy Robinson resign as a result - will go into the draw as 12th and last seeds.

"The anticipation ahead of the draw has been palpable," Lapasset said.

"I am looking forward to an event that will truly signal the beginning of the countdown to England's hosting of Rugby World Cup 2015 for teams and fans."

Johnson added: "London proved this summer that it is simply the best place in the world to stage international sport.

"So it is fantastic that as host city for 2015 we have been given the honour of staging matches from another of the world's largest sporting events, which will see top-flight competition return to London and the UK's iconic venues so quickly after the 2012 Games."