- England handed tough draw for 2015 Rugby World Cup
- To win the World Cup you have to win big games – Lancaster
have been placed in an exciting Pool ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup alongside Six Nations rivals Wales
, southern hemisphere giants Australia
and the as yet undetermined Oceania 1
and play-off winner
England, crowned 2003 world champions after they beat Australia in a gripping final, have never previously been drawn in the same World Cup group as Wales. Their last World Cup meeting was during the 2003 tournament in Brisbane, when England trailed at half-time before securing a tense quarter-final win.
The last time England and Australia found themselves in the same pool was at the inaugural World Cup 25 years ago. Wales, World Cup semi-finalists last year, dropped to ninth in the International Rugby Board rankings following autumn defeats against Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia.
2015 Rugby World Cup draw in full
- Pool A: Australia, England, Wales, Oceania 1, play-off winner.
- Pool B: South Africa, Samoa, Scotland, Asia 1, Americas 2.
- Pool C: New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga, Europe 1, Africa 1.
- Pool D: France, Ireland, Italy, Americas 1, Europe 2.
Photo: Getty Images
Speaking directly after the draw, England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster gave his initial thoughts: "It is definitely a pretty tough pool. To win the World Cup you have to win big games and I have got a huge amount of respect for what Wales have done recently.
He added: "We know their squad pretty well, it is a young side and a lot of them will still be around in 2015. Australia have just beaten us and if you look at the age and profile of their squad, they have got some young lads as well. We will look forward to it."
On the fact that England will be hosting the prestigious event, Lancaster said: "It is unbelievably exciting. Twelve months ago I went out to New Zealand for two weeks and got a little sample of what it is like and the impact on that country.
"We have seen what the Olympic Games did for our country and the next big sporting event is the 2015 Rugby World Cup. By that time everybody is going to be revved up and it's going to be a big party."