World Rugby has confirmed that the RWC 2019 pool draw will take place in May 2017 with rankings again being used to place teams into bands.
The venue and exact date for the draw has yet to be determined but it will take place a full 12 months from now, prior to the opening of the June international series next year. This affords all teams the opportunity to make their move up the rankings in the next year in order to secure a better banding at rugby's showpiece tournament.
"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. 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," said Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
"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."
Chief Executive of Japan Rugby 2019 Akira Shimazu said: "We are very looking forward to the pool allocation draw taking place as it will be another significant step towards Rugby World Cup 2019. With just over two years to go when the draw takes place, we will be using it as a way to build excitement ahead of what we believe will be an amazing tournament for the game. It will also be another opportunity to build momentum in Japan and add to the increasing excitement that already exists."
With eight places at RWC 2019 up for grabs, the qualification process is already underway as more than 80 teams are battling it out for a prized place in Japan. With the regional stage having already commenced in Rugby Americas North, May will see the start of the process in Asia as Uzbekistan hosts the Asia Rugby Championship Division 2 tournament featuring Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Guam as well as the hosts. The process in Oceania, Europe, Africa and South America will also get underway shortly.
The 12 teams that qualified by virtue of finishing in the top three of their respective pools at RWC 2015 are: Argentina, Australia, England, France, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa and Wales.