Coetzee content with World Cup draw
REACTION: South Africa head coach Allister Coetzee said he is satisfied with the World Cup 2019 Pool Allocation Draw, which took place in Kyoto, Japan on Wednesday.
South Africa were drawn in Pool B, alongside the old foe New Zealand and Italy.
The Boks and All Blacks have clashed four times, however, this will be the first time the sides meet in the pool stages.
The previous World Cup clashes saw the two teams claim two victories each – South Africa won the Final in 1995 (15-12) and the bronze medal match in 1999 (22-18), while New Zealand came out tops in the quarterfinal in 2003 (29-9) and the semifinal in 2015 (20-18).
In the past, a draw like this for the South Africans would have meant the play-offs are guaranteed, however, a lot have changed in the recent years - Italy recording their first victory over the Boks in 2016 and the Boks dropped down to seven in the World rankings.
With the mammoth task looming in two years time, Coetzee showed anything but nerves and stated he was satisfied with the pool allocation.
"As I said before the draw was made – to us it doesn't matter who we are drawn against because to win the Rugby World Cup, you have to beat the best teams out there," said Coetzee.
"The pools consist of five teams each and history shows that you need to win at least three of your four pool matches to be sure of a place in the play-offs. We will focus on our journey towards the RWC 2019 and make sure we are ready and well prepared.
"We’ve been working hard since arriving back from the 2016 Outgoing Tour to ensure improved results from now on forward, with the Rugby World Cup on the distant horizon," he added.
"If ever there was testimony that the gap between the top teams have closed, then we saw that at the over the past few months in the Northern Hemisphere.
"With New Zealand established as the number one side, there is also very little to choose between the top sides in the world, while the next batch of teams continue to improve,"