The Springboks will start the defence of the Webb Ellis Cup crown in Pool B against Ireland and Scotland when the next Rugby World Cup kicks off in France in 2023.
As the defending champions and number one ranked team in the world, South Africa are one of five teams in Pool B for the 2023 tournament, along with two more qualifying teams, from the Asia/Pacific qualifier, and Europe.
The Pool Allocation Draw was completed in Paris on Monday, and broadcast live across the world with all teams participating virtually.
The Springboks have never been drawn in a RWC pool with Ireland and will be defending a proud history as they have only lost three pool matches in seven tournaments, against England (2003), Japan (2015) and New Zealand (2019).
The Boks have twice been in the same pool as Scotland, in 1999 and 2015. Since their first RWC participation in 1995, the Springboks have played 43 RWC games, winning 36 and losing seven. That winning tally, including three RWC Final triumphs, give the Springboks an impressive win percentage of 83.72%.
“We are obviously excited about the draw today, and although the Rugby World Cup in France is still almost three years away, it’s good to have an end-goal to work towards,” said Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber.
“To be in the same pool as Ireland and Scotland will be a massive challenge, but to win the tournament, you have to be able to beat all the teams and we will be properly tested in the pool phases.
“We saw last year the margin for error – even during the pool stages – at any Rugby World Cup is very small.
“Take for instance our situation where we simply had to win every single pool game after our loss to the All Blacks in Japan, to ensure we qualify for the knockout stages.
“If you look at the countries in the top three bands, I would say each one of those teams is capable of beating another on any given day, proven by a team such as Japan, who have made huge strides in recent years.”
Siya Kolisi took part in the event along with Nienaber, and the Springbok captain said the draw heralds a significant marker for them to aim at.
“It’s exciting, really, to know who your RWC pool opponents will be for the 2023 tournament in France,” said Kolisi.
However, Kolisi said that for the immediate future, the Springboks’ attention will be on another huge and looming challenge.
“For now, we have to turn our attention to the massive challenge the British & Irish Lions will bring next year – there is huge anticipation, both at home and in the UK, for what promises to be another memorable Lions series in South Africa,” added the Springbok captain.
Rugby World Cup 2023 Pools:
New Zealand, France, Italy, Americas 1, Africa 1
South Africa, Ireland, Scotland, Asia / Pacific 1, Europe 2
Wales, Australia, Fiji, Europe 1, Final Qualifier Winner
England, Japan, Argentina, Oceania 1, Americas 2
Springbok RWC Statistics
• Debut: v Australia on 25 May 1995
• Tournament appearances: Seven (1995-2019)
• Record: Played 43; Won 36; Lost 7
• Best placing: Champions in 1995, 2007 and 2019
• Points for / against: 1,512 / 553
• Tries for / against: 174 / 37
• Most RWC appearances: Schalk Burger – 20
• Top RWC points scorer: Handré Pollard – 162
• Top RWC try scorer: Bryan Habana – 15