2015 Rugby World Cup
Rugby World Cup nightmare draws
ESPN Staff
December 3, 2012
Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland cops a high shot against Samoa, Wales v Samoa, Rugby World Cup, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand, September 18, 2011
Wales were drawn in a ferocious group at the 2011 World Cup © Getty Images

Wales' failure to secure a top-eight seeding for the 2015 Rugby World Cup draw in London has raised the prospects of a Group of Death being pulled from the pot this afternoon.

Defeat to Australia at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday saw Wales drop to ninth in the world rankings, which could see them drawn in the same group as top seeds New Zealand and fifth seeds England.

Here ESPNscrum looks at "Groups of Death" from previous World Cups and how they have altered the destiny of the tournaments.


Despite being a top-eight seed, Wales were dealt a nasty draw for the World Cup in New Zealand as they lined up in a ferociously physical group with South Africa, Samoa, Fiji and Namibia. After losing to the Springboks by a point in their opening game, many Welsh fans feared the worst but the promising performance galvanised Warren Gatland's team, who went on to beat Samoa, Namibia and Fiji. Victory over Ireland in the quarter finals followed before an agonising 9-8 defeat to France in the last four.


The 2007 tournament began with a bang as Argentina stunned hosts France in the opening game at the Stade De France. It proved just how tough Group D, which also included Ireland, Georgia and Namibia, would be. And it was Ireland who were the fall guys as they suffered heavy defeats to both France and Argentina. To make matters worse they could only manage narrow wins over Namibia and Georgia in a terrible tournament for the Irish. South Africa went on to become World Champions but for many the team of the tournament was Argentina, who beat France for a second time to finish third overall.


For the 1995 tournament in South Africa, New Zealand were drawn against Ireland, Wales and Japan. With the sensational Jonah Lomu terrorising defences the All Blacks typically progressed to the quarter finals with ease but it was left to Wales and Ireland to fight it out to join them in the last eight. Both sides recorded comfortable enough wins over Japan before they met in the final match of the group in Johannesburg. Ireland eventually made it through to the last eight as they knocked out their rivals after a tense 24-23 victory.


Australia, who would eventually go on to beat hosts England in the World Cup final at Twickenham, progressed through their group but Wales failed to reach the latter stages of the competition as Western Samoa reached the quarter-finals for the first time in their history. Western Samoa claimed a narrow 16-13 victory over Wales in the second game of the group and with both sides losing to Australia, Samoa's 35-12 defeat of fellow pool opponents Argentina in the final match saw the Welsh go crashing out of the tournament.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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