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The 2019 Rugby World Cup is fast approaching, with international teams currently giving us a taste of what is to come with a series of warm-up matches before they fly out to Japan.
The opening game of the RWC kicks off on Friday, September 20, in Tokyo.
Here is our guide to which team is in which pool/group, who England are playing first and when the fixtures take place.
How many pools are there?
There are four – A, B, C, D – containing five teams each.
Which is England in?
Eddie Jones’ side feature in Pool C along with Argentina, France, USA and Tonga.
What about the other home nations?
Scotland are in Pool A with Ireland, Japan, Russia and Samoa. Wales, meanwhile, will be taking on Australia, Georgia, Fiji and Uruguay in D.
How many go through in each group?
The top two make it through to the quarter-finals, taking place on October 19 and 20.
Pool guide and fixtures
Here is how they shape up.
Pool A assessment:
Ireland are the favourites to top the pool. The number one ranked side will be confident of securing the top position as long as they can defeat Scotland in their opening game. Scotland have a great opportunity to make it into the quarter-finals as the other Tier 1 side. However, they will face stiff competition from the hosts Japan who will equally see this pool as a chance to make it into the knockout stages. Japan vs Scotland is the last fixture in the group and could well be the decider.
Samoa showed some promise in their last warm-up match against Australia and will be targeting both the Japan and Scotland fixtures for an upset. Russia look somewhat hopeless – they lost comfortably to Championship side Jersey Reds in one of their warm-up fixtures.
Ireland are likely to come first, with Scotland joining them in the quarter-finals. But Japan should not be discounted, especially at home. This pool could come down to bonus points.
Pool A fixtures:
- Japan vs Russia… Tokyo Stadium… Friday, September 20… 11.45am BST… (ITV)
- Ireland vs Scotland… International Stadium Yokohama… Sunday, September 22… 8.45am BST… (ITV)
- Russia vs Samoa… Kumagaya Rugby Stadium… Tuesday, September 24… 11.15am BST… (ITV 4)
- Japan vs Ireland… Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa… Saturday, September 28… 8.15am BST… (ITV)
- Scotland vs Samoa… Kobe Misaki Stadium… Monday, September 30… 11.15am BST… (ITV)
- Ireland vs Russia… Kobe Misaki Stadium… Thursday, October 3… 11.15am BST… (ITV)
- Japan vs Samoa… City of Toyota Stadium… Saturday, October 5… 11.30am BST… (ITV)
- Scotland vs Russia… Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa… Wednesday, October 9… 8.15am BST… (ITV)
- Ireland vs Samoa… Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium… Saturday, October 12… 11.45am BST… (ITV)
- Japan vs Scotland… International Stadium Yokohama… Sunday, October 13… 11.45am BST… (ITV)
New Zealand and South Africa will progress to the knockout stages. The question is in what order. The two sides meet on Saturday in their opening fixture. The rest of the pool matches will be relative
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