Draw for 2019 Rugby World Cup to take place in May 2017
The draw for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan will take place in May 2017, World Rugby has confirmed.
The date for the draw has been a bone of contention, particularly for the bigger rugby nations who were keen to avoid another "group of hell" as happened in last year's instalment.
England, Australia and Wales were all drawn in the same pool for the 2015 tournament, with the draw taking place in December 2012 on that occasion.
Wales had slipped out of the top eight by the time of the draw, but were above England in the rankings by the time the tournament started.
Hosts Japan were keen for an earlier draw due to the logistics involved with organising a World Cup, and a compromise has been reached.
A World Rugby statement confirmed that an exact date and venue has yet to be decided, but teams have a year to improve their rankings.
"The pool allocation draw is an important milestone in the run-in to any Rugby World Cup and it really helps to build excitement and momentum," said World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset, who will be replaced by former England captain Bill Beaumont in July.
"With the identity of 12 teams already known, it will be of huge interest to players and fans to know which sides will be in their pool for what will be a game-changing tournament in Japan.
"While the draw is closer to the start of the tournament this time around compared to the previous RWC, it is necessary to conduct it well in advance for logistical reasons and to allow for an effective ticketing programme to be implemented."