Deja vu for Wallabies in World Cup draw
Australia will play against Wales and Fiji for the third Rugby World Cup in a row after the pools for the 2023 tournament were revealed on Monday night (AEDT).
It's a frustrating result for fans looking to see something different but a favourable draw for Dave Rennie's side as they look to progress further than a quarterfinal finish in 2019.
The Wallabies comfortably defeated Fiji but lost 29-25 to the Welsh in Japan last year to finish second in their group and set up a meeting against a powerful England side, which they lost.
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They will likely need to reverse that result this time around to avoid another quarterfinal against the Poms, who are in pool D with Japan and Argentina.
Australia defeated Fiji and Wales in 2015 before progressing all the way to the final.
Teams were ordered based on their world ranking in January this year ahead of the draw which meant Wales joined reigning world champion South Africa, New Zealand and England in headlining separate pools.
That was good news for Australia. The Wallabies are currently ranked sixth in the world, ahead of Wales which has dropped to ninth. Fiji is 11th. A European team and the winner of the final qualifying tournament rounds out pool C.
New Zealand head coach Ian Foster said facing hosts France in a mouth-watering pool game will be "special", after Monday's draw in Paris.
The sides met in the 1987 and 2011 finals, with the All Blacks winning on both occasions.
"It's going to be very special. I have no doubt they will organise a superb World Cup," Foster told a press conference.
"We've watched with admiration the way they're rebuilding their team and are really building something special for 2023.
"For us to know the size of the challenge has given us a clear focus and one we can't wait for," he added.
England take on Japan, who hosted the last World Cup in 2019, and Argentina, who beat Foster's men for the first time in their history in November.
A qualifier each from Oceania and the Americas round out a competitive-looking Pool D.
"It's a great pool to be a part of," England captain Owen Farrell said. "Obviously with the way that Japan and Argentina are going at the minute, some of the rugby that has been played over the last few years by them both, it's going to be a tough pool."
Champions South Africa will face Ireland as well as Scotland and a nation from Asia/Pacific and a further European nation in Pool B.
"It's exciting, really, to know who your RWC pool opponents will be," Springboks skipper Siya Kolisi said.
Wales, who lost to the Springboks in the 2019 semi-finals, are in Pool C with two-time Webb Ellis trophy holders Australia as well as Fiji,
Italy and two qualifiers, one from the Americas and another from Africa, make up the rest of Pool A alongside the All Blacks and the French.
- with wires
Originally published as Deja vu for Wallabies in World Cup draw