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All Blacks to face Springboks in 2019 World Cup opener

Tokyo, Thursday @PeopleSports11

Favourites New Zealand will begin their quest for a third successive Rugby World Cup title with a heavyweight clash against South Africa at the 2019 tournament in Japan.

The All Blacks are scheduled to face their old southern hemisphere foes in Yokohama on September 21, a day after hosts Japan kick off the competition against European qualifiers, likely to be Romania, organisers announced in Tokyo on Thursday.

France, drawn in the so-called “Group of Death” alongside England and Argentina, also open their campaign on September 21 with a key Pool C fixture against the Pumas in Tokyo.

Title contenders England take on Tonga in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo the following day. Two-time champions Australia face a potentially tricky opener against Fiji in Pool D, where rivals Wales open against Georgia.

“We kick off against Georgia before facing Australia, both of whom we play this November in Cardiff,” Wales head coach Warren Gatland said in a statement. “We then have a good block of time before facing Fiji in Oita. We have four cities to visit so it is important we buy into the culture of Japan and the tournament.” -AFP

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