All eyes will turn to Paris on Monday, December 14 for the all-important pool draw for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Twelve countries have automatically qualified for the next edition of the World Cup based on their top-three placings in each of the four pools at last year’s tournament.
The first band of countries is: South Africa (defending champions), beaten finalists England, third-place winners New Zealand and losers of that bronze medal match, Wales.
The second band contains Ireland, Australia, France and Japan, while the third group sees Scotland, Argentina, Fiji and Italy lumped together.
One team from each band will randomly be drawn into each pool.
Best possible group: England, Japan, Italy, Asia/Pacific, Final qualifier winner
Worst possible group: England, France, Argentina, Oceania 1, Europe 2
LIST | 5 wonderkids who could star for England at 2023 Rugby World Cup
Here are five players who could potentially break into the England set-up…
1. Josh Hodge
- Current number of caps: 0
- Position: Fullback
- Age at the start of RWC 2023: 23
One of England’s most exciting upcoming talents, the fullback is built in the same mould as All Black Damian Mckenzie. Safe under the high ball and blessed with incredible pace, expect him to play a key role f=or Newcastle Falcons on their return to the Premiership. Hopefully he’ll then be in a place to make a bid for international honours.