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NEXT YEAR’S Rugby Union World Cup in New Zealand at last has its full line up of teams confirmed.

New Zealand of course didn’t have to qualify as they are the host nation.

The following 11 teams also didn’t have to qualify because they finished in the top three of their groups in the last World Cup in France in 2007. They are: Argentina, Australia, England, Fiji, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, reigning World Champions South Africa, Tonga and Wales.

The next seven teams all qualified after finishing their regional qualifying section in the required places. These countries are: Canada, Georgia, Japan, Namibia, Russia – the only team who are making their debut, Samoa and U.S.A.

The final place was contested over by four teams who had failed to qualify directly from their regional groups, but had done well enough to be given a second chance. They were: Kazakhstan, Romania, Tunisia and Uruguay. Romania beat Tunisia 56-13 and Uruguay beat Kazakhstan 44-7. Romania and Uruguay drew the first leg of the final in Montevideo 21-21, but in Bucharest today Romania ran out 39-12 winners, winning the tie 60-33 on aggregate and qualified for the finals.

Now the draw for the groups was made back in December 2008 and goes like this:

Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D

New Zealand (Hosts)

Argentina

Australia

South Africa (Reigning Champions)

France

England

Ireland

Wales

Tonga

Scotland

Italy

Fiji

Canada

Georgia

Russia

Samoa

Japan

Romania

U.S.A.

Namibia

The competition kicks-off on 9 September 2011 with New Zealand taking on fellow Haka performers Tonga see below. This will be the first opening match since 1995 which doesn’t include Argentina.

England’s first match is against Argentina on 10 September, followed by Georgia on 18 September, Romania on 24 September and arch rivals Scotland on 1 October.

Even though it is just under a year away, BRING IT ON!

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