Schmidt 'already starting his planning' for 2019 RWC, reckons fist-pumping Jamie Heaslip

Ireland's bumper draw of Scotland and Japan in Pool A in the 2019 Rugby World Cup was summed up perfectly by the snap reaction of Jamie Heaslip, the Leinster number eight's instinctive fist-pump underscoring their hugely agreeable line-up.

"Getting to avoid South Africa, France and Wales, that's a big thing for us," said Heaslip, speaking at a Land Rover event in London, screening the draw from Kyoto.

"We're happy with it, there's some tougher groups, but when you've seen what Japan have done in the last 18 months and Scotland we've struggled with as well.

"It's an exciting group for us, and I'd say Joe (Schmidt) is already starting his planning."

Meanwhile, England back-row James Haskell has insisted Eddie Jones' team will adopt a phlegmatic approach to staring down the Rugby World Cup 2019 pool of death.

England face arguably the toughest World Cup pool for the second tournament in succession, having been drawn alongside France and Argentina in Pool C for the 2019 competition in Japan.

England became the worst-performing hosts in World Cup history in 2015 by failing to qualify from their pool containing Wales and Australia.

But Wasps flanker Haskell insists England under Eddie Jones can handle the hype of another severely testing draw.

"If you want to be the best team in the world then you've got to beat all the best teams," said Haskell.

"I'd love to see the simplest pool in the world, but it never works out that way.

"You've just got to beat whoever's in front of you on the day.

"Eddie Jones' team out there will literally just look at the first game.

"I'm also a believer that the form going into a tournament doesn't really matter because what counts is what you do once you get there.

James Haskell

"Eddie Jones will be very matter of fact, he wants us to be the best team in the world.

"For the World Cup his mind is already on that, doing that in the right way.

"He's already coming up with weird and wonderful ways to make us fitter and fitter.

"He tells us that a World Cup is a life-defining moment. If you can't put your body on the line for that, then you're really in the wrong game."

Conor O'Shea's Italy must face down back-to-back world champions New Zealand in Pool B, while Wales will meet Australia and Georgia in Pool D.

2019 Rugby World Cup draw

  • Pool A - Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Europe 1, play-off winner.
  • Pool B - New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Africa 1, repechage winner.
  • Pool C - England, France, Argentina, Americas 1, Oceania 2.
  • Pool D - Australia, Wales, Georgia, Americas 2, Oceania 1.


 

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