Hansen happy to draw Springboks

England, coached by former Japan boss Eddie Jones is in Pool C alongside France, Argentina, Americas 1 and Oceania 2.

"They are a team being run by a few Kiwi lads over there and they're on the up and up", he said.

Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie reacted to England's group demise in 2015 by removing Lancaster and appointing Jones and upon surveying the result of Wednesday's draw he declared "bring it on!".

England will get the opportunity to take a closer look at Argentina in June when they go on a two-Test tour before facing Daniel Hourcade's side again in November at Twickenham.

"Italy will have some self-belief in terms of playing us, and that will not be an easy game. So here we go". They went down 54-20 to Argentina in early November but then ran Wales very close in Cardiff, losing 33-30, and were beaten 38-25 by Fiji in their final autumn worldwide of 2016. So I think teams will have to adjust to that. "It's exciting, and there's no greater rivalry in rugby than England against France".

"I'm going to visit the temples because I need to pray now", the Australian told reporters.

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"I have never felt so fired up than I feel now", said Abe.

Holders New Zealand are in the same pool as South Africa, while Australia and Wales find themselves in the same pool for the second successive tournament after both qualified for the knockout stages in 2015.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said he was pleased to be in a group that would provide "some challenges".

But Hansen said: "They're one of (our rivals), along with South Africa, Australia and France". We're going to prepare for this World Cup with lots of ambition. England are getting better and better all the time, but they're in a really strong pool. 'It's going to be interesting, smiled Hansen. We will learn from that and I am not going to describe this as a pool of death. But you're in what you're in. They are one of the best teams in the world.

"My experience of the World Cup is that having two tough games is the best preparation".

"It's a tough draw for lots of teams", he said.

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"To win the World Cup, you have to win seven games".

England have a mixed World Cup record against France and their last meeting was a quarter-final defeat in 2011 in Auckland.

Unlike in 2015, when only Los Pumas provided New Zealand with any pool-stage competition, his troops would need to be focused from day dot. We will have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, World Rugby's ruling council, meeting in Kyoto ahead of the draw, agreed to change the worldwide residency criterion for players from three years to five years.

At the draw in Kyoto, eight slots were allocated to the teams yet to qualify. "No doubt it will ignite a deep love of rugby, and Japan's people and cites will be outstanding hosts". "It promises to be an exceptional tournament in 2019 that will showcase rugby on the global stage and help to expand the game the into Asia".

"It's a starting point of knowing that this World Cup is in progress", he said.

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