The IRB announced the four pools draw for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in London. The 12 highest rated teams received automatic bids, while the remaining seven will come from regional playoffs, and, the final, or 20th berth, in an all-country repechage.
POOL A – Australia, England, Wales, Oceania 1, Playoff Winner
POOL B – South Africa, Samoa, Scotland, Asia, America’s 2
POOL C – New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga, Europe 1, Africa 1
POOL D – France, Ireland, Italy, America’s 1, Europe 2
(Eagles record in parenthesis)
Eagles’ Scenario 1 - If the Eagles defeat Canada, they will play in Pool D against France (0-2). The Eagles lost to Ireland (0-8) and Italy (0-4) in pool play in 2011’s RWC. They would compete probably against Russia (5-1), Georgia (2-1), or Spain (3-0) or Romania (5-1) – as outside picks – in the Europe 2 spot.
Eagles’ Scenario 2 – If the Eagles lose to Canada, they will play in Pool B, setting up a return game against the Springbok (0-3), who beat them in 2007’s RWC. Samoa (0-3) has risen to a historic high of 7th in the IRB ratings currently. The other games would be against Scotland (0-4) – whom the USA has never beaten - and, probably, Japan (12-6-1), a team the USA has beaten twice in the World Cup..
Recap - Two teams each advance from the four pools and all eyes will be looking at Wales in Pool A to learn if can defeat one or both of the other two rugby powerhouses. Assume Fiji wins the Oceania 1 playoff; it will enter also into the most competitive Pool A.
The Eagles will take the same route as before in the America’s regional contests, so it will have to get by Canada (12-35-1) to avoid additional playoff games against Uruguay (11-1) to qualify for the second RWC spot.