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ABs could face 'Boks early at World CupSave
The All Blacks could be pitted against two Rugby Championship rivals at the next Rugby World Cup after seeds were finalised in the weekend.
Following Six Nations action on Sunday, the All Blacks, England, Australia and Ireland have been given top seeds for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The draw will be made on May 10 in Kyoto.
Scotland, France, South Africa and Wales make up the second group of seeds - all potential opponents for the All Blacks.
Wales missed out on a chance of making the top group of seeds after falling to France in the 100th minute on Sunday.
With Argentina in the next group of seeds, it means the All Blacks could be matched against Rugby Championship rivals South Africa and Argentina in pool play. The other three teams in the third band of seeds are hosts Japan, Georgia and Italy.
The All Blacks, who have never lost in pool play, have been grouped against France, Scotland and Wales at previous World Cups but have never met South Africa in group play.
World Cup seedings
1 All Blacks, 2 England, 3 Australia, 4 Ireland
5 Scotland, 6 France, 7 South Africa, 8 Wales
9 Argentina, 10 Japan, 11 Georgia, 12 Italy
Potential pool opponents
The All Blacks have played France seven times at the Rugby World Cup and they are one of three teams to beat the ABs at the tournament (twice in 1999 and 2007). The two sides have only met once in pool play and that was a convincing 37-17 to the All Blacks at Eden Park in 2011. France last beat the All Blacks in 2009 losing the last 10 matches between the two nations.
The Scots have lost five games to the All Blacks at the World Cup but haven't met since 2007 when New Zealand beat a depleted Scotland side 40-0 in Edinburgh. Scotland have never beaten the All Blacks in 30 encounters.
The old rivals have never been in the same group at a World Cup with all their four previous meetings being a knockout game or a bronze final. The Boks have also beaten the All Blacks twice before at the World Cup (1995 final and the 1999 bronze final).
Have clashed with the All Blacks just three times at a World Cup, the last encounter in 2003 (won 53-37 by the All Blacks). Have only once been grouped together, at the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Wales haven't beaten the All Blacks since 1953.