Wales will face the inaugural World champions New Zealand in Pool D of the Rugby World Cup in Australia next year.
The All Blacks, who are due in Wales in November and who will entertain Wales down under next summer, are the top seeds in Pool D with 1999 quarter-finalists Wales as the second drawn team. The runners-up in the European qualifying group, most likely Italy, will join them, along with Repechage 2 winners, possibly Tonga. In the other Pools, England will face 1995 world champions South Africa, while reigning champions Australia have been drawn with Argentina. Second seeds France will play in Pool B with Scotland. The eight quarter-finalists from the last 1999 Rugby World Cup were seeded in the same order they finished then, but none of the other 12 finalists have been decided yet. The remaining 12 spots will be determined by a series of regional qualifying tournaments. The tournament will run from 10th October to 22nd November 2003, with matches to be played in major cities around Australia. Sydney's Olympic stadium (Stadium Australia) will host the opening match, between Australia and Argentina on October 10th, as well as the final and both semi-finals. The 20 teams have been split into four pools of five with the top two sides from each group advancing directly to the quarter-finals. 2003 Rugby World Cup Pools Pool A Australia, Argentina, Europe 1, Europe 4, Africa 1
Pool B France, Scotland, Oceania 1, Asia 1, Repechage 1
Pool C South Africa, England, Oceania 2, America 2, Europe 3
Pool D New Zealand, Wales, America 1, Europe 2, Repechage 2
2003 Rugby World Cup Game Schedule 10 Oct: Australia v Argentina (Pool A) Sydney
11 Oct: New Zealand v Europe 2 (Pool D) Melbourne
11 Oct: France v Oceania 1 (Pool B) Brisbane
11 Oct: Europe1 v Europe 4 (Pool A) Gosford
11 Oct: South Africa v America 2 (Pool C) Perth
12 Oct: Wales v America 1 (Pool D) Melbourne
12 Oct: Scotland v Asia (Pool B) Townsville
12 Oct: England v Europe 3 (Pool C) Perth
14 Oct: Argentina v Africa 1 (Pool A) Gosford
15 Oct: Oceania 1 v Repechage 1 (Pool B) Brisbane
15 Oct: Europe 2 v Repechage 2 (Pool D) Canberra
15 Oct: Oceania 2 v America 2 (Pool C) Perth
17 Oct: New Zealand v America 1 (Pool D) Melbourne
18 Oct: Australia v Europe 4 (Pool A) Brisbane
18 Oct: France v Asia (Pool B) Townsville
18 Oct: South Africa v England (Pool C) Perth
19 Oct: Wales v Repechage 2 (Pool D) Canberra
19 Oct: Europe 1 v Africa 1 (Pool A) Sydney
19 Oct: Europe 3 v Oceania 2 (Pool C) Perth
20 Oct: Scotland v Repechage 1 (Pool B) Brisbane
21 Oct: Europe 2 v America 1 (Pool D) Canberra
22 Oct: Argentina v Europe 4 (Pool A) Sydney
23 Oct: Oceania 1 v Asia (Pool B) Townsville
24 Oct: New Zealand v Repechage 2 (Pool D) Brisbane
24 Oct: South Africa v Europe 3 (Pool C) Sydney
25 Oct: Australia v Africa 1 (Pool A) Adelaide
25 Oct: Europe 2 v Wales (Pool D) Canberra
25 Oct: France v Scotland (Pool B) Sydney
26 Oct: England v Oceania 2 (Pool C) Melbourne
26 Oct: Argentina v Europe 1 (Pool A) Adelaide
27 Oct: Asia v Repechage 1 (Pool B) Gosford
28 Oct: Europe 3 v America 2 (Pool C) Sydney
29 Oct: America 1 v Repechage 2 (Pool D) Wollongong
30 Oct: Africa 1 v Europe 4 (Pool A) Launceston
31 Oct: France v Repechage 1 (Pool B) Wollongong
01 November: Scotland v Oceania 1 (Pool B) Sydney
01 Nov: South Africa v Oceania 2 (Pool C) Brisbane
01 Nov: Australia v Europe 1 (Pool A) Melbourne
02 Nov: England v America 2 (Pool C) Brisbane
02 Nov: New Zealand v Wales (Pool D) Sydney
Quarter-finals 08 Nov: Winner D v Runner up C (QF1) Melbourne
08 Nov: Winner A v Runner up B (QF2) Brisbane
09 Nov: Winner B v Runner up A (QF3) Melbourne
09 Nov: Winner C v Runner up D (QF4) Brisbane
Semi-finals 15 Nov: Winner QF1 v Winner QF2 (SF1) Sydney
16 Nov: Winner QF3 v Winner QF4 (SF2) Sydney
20 Nov: Loser SF1 v Loser SF2 (Play-off) Sydney
Final 22 Nov: Winner SF1 v Winner SF2 (Final) Sydney
The on and off-field benefits of schools and colleges employing a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub initiative continue to grow with the publication of the first half term figures of the current academic year.
Despite being in a tough group for the World Series opener in Dubai, Wales 7s head coach Gareth Williams says it is an exciting challenge and his squad are in a positive frame of mind, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers.
Wales 7s captain Luke Treharne may have only played once on the World Series, but he has full confidence in his side as they prepare for the opening two rounds of this year's series in Dubai and South Africa, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers.
Wales 7s Manager Steff Thomas believes Luke Treharne has all the attriubutes to be a top class captain. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie hears his reasons why as the squad prepare for the opening two legs of the new World Series in Dubai and South Africa.
The British & Irish Cup kicks off this weekend with the four Regional Premiership Select XVs flying the flag for Wales. Welsh
Sat 14 Nov: Blues Premiership Select v Nottingham (2.30) & Connacht Eagles v Dragons (2.30)
Sun 15 Nov: Yorkshire Carnegie v Ospreys Premiership Select (1.30) & Scarlets v Bedford Blues (3.00)
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
The Foster's Challenge Cup will involve the 12 Principality Premiership sides and will run during European and British & Irish Cup weeks, providing vital fixtures for the participating clubs and an opportunity for upcoming players to step up to semi-professional rugby and make a claim for starting places within the Premiership squads.
Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia