<em><strong>The Rugby World Cup 2011 Pool Allocation Draw took place inside a very unique venue, Tourism New Zealand's 'Giant Rugby Ball' facility in the heart of London on Monday.</strong></em>
<div class="image_block"><img src="http://www.rugbybahamas.com/images/logoNewZealand.gif" alt="" title="" width="188" height="188" /></div>
Defending champions South Africa find themselves in arguably the toughest pool, where they will face Fiji, the side who nearly derailed their charge to the title in 2007, and Wales, the 2008 Six Nations champions.

Tournament hosts New Zealand will be looking to avenge their RWC 2007 quarter final exit at the hands of France when the sides meet in Pool A, while England will meet long time rivals Scotland for the first time in the pool stages.

Australia, the Rugby World Cup champions in 1991 and 1999, will face three European teams in Pool C, headed by Ireland and Italy.

The RWC 2011 pools are:

<span style="color:#0000CC"><strong>Pool A:</strong></span>
New Zealand
Americas 1
Asia 1

<span style="color:#0000CC"><strong>Pool B:</strong></span>
Europe 1
Play Off winner

<span style="color:#0000CC"><strong>Pool C:</strong></span>
Europe 2
Americas 2

<span style="color:#0000CC"><strong>Pool D:</strong></span>
South Africa
Oceania 1
Africa 1

The remaining eight available qualifying places still available for the tournament – Americas 1, Americas 2, Asia 1, Africa 1, Europe 1, Europe 2, Oceania 1 and Final Playoff Place – were divided between the four pools.

<span style="color:#0000CC"><strong>RWC 2011 knockout structure</strong></span>
Following the RWC 2011 pool matches, the knockout rounds will follow the same structure as RWC 2003 and RWC 2007. The full structure is as follows:

Quarter Final 1: Winner Pool B v Runner-up Pool A
Quarter Final 2: Winner Pool C v Runner-up Pool D
Quarter Final 3: Winner Pool A v Runner-up Pool B
Quarter Final 4: Winner Pool D v Runner-up Pool C

Semi-Final 1: Winner QF1 v Winner QF2
Semi-Final 2: Winner QF3 v Winner QF4

Bronze Final: Loser SF1 v Loser SF2

Final: Winner SF1 v Winner SF2

<span style="color:#0000CC"><strong>RWC planning milestone</strong></span>
The RWC 2011 Pool Allocation Draw marks another important milestone in preparations for the tournament in New Zealand.

The venues for the final, bronze final, semi finals and quarter finals have already been announced, whilst Rugby New Zealand (RNZ) 2011 Ltd has received proposals from regional groups representing 18 regions in New Zealand to host pool matches. The full match schedule is due to be announced in the second quarter of 2009.

Source: <span style="color:#0000CC">IRB by mail</span>