Stuart Lancaster’s England have been handed a tough draw for the 2015 World Cup on home soil, having been paired with Australia and Wales.
Australia are top seeds in the group, with Lancaster’s England second seeds. Wales, World Cup semi-finalists a little over 12 months ago, fell into the third pool of seeds after a poor autumn.
In the other groups, South Africa have been paired with Scotland and Samoa, while reigning world champions New Zealand face Argentina and Tonga.
The three teams in Pool D are all from the northern hemisphere with France top seeds, alongside Ireland and Italy.
The full make-up of the groups will be decided closer to the time following the remaining international qualifiers.
The 2015 World Cup runs from September 18 to October 31. Leeds’s Elland Road stadium is one of the venues shortlisted to host matches.