John Smit's Springboks will kick-off the defence of their Rugby World Cup title against Wales in Wellington, New Zealand in 2011.
The two teams were scheduled to meet in the quarter-finals in France last season, but the Fijians put paid to that by beating the Welsh in Nantes and sending them home at the end of the Pool stages. Martin Johnson's England side also face a tough opener, having to meet the Pumas, who finished third in France in 2007, in Christchurch the day before. Scotland, France and Ireland will all meet qualifying teams in their first round of Pool games.
The Rugby World Cup returns to New Zealand in two years time for the first time since the All Blacks won the trophy in the tournament's inaugural year of 1987. The All Blacks will kick-off proceedings in Auckland against Tonga.
The 48 tournament matches, played between Friday, September 9 and Sunday, October 23, are scheduled across 13 venues in 13 cities: Auckland, North Shore, Whangarei, Hamilton, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Invercargill.
"The sporting world is awaiting with great excitement the next chapter in Rugby World Cup history and we are delighted that New Zealand, a country so rich in Rugby heritage and tradition, is the host of Rugby World Cup 2011," said RWC chairman, Bernard Lapasset.
"A lot of work and collaboration has gone into the match schedule and the selection of match venues. This has included input from the IRB, Rugby New Zealand 2011 and the cities and regions of New Zealand. The RWCL Board is very happy with the outcome and believes this is the best balanced schedule we have seen for a Rugby World Cup in terms of benefitting player welfare."
RWC 2001 Pool Draw
Pool A New Zealand; France; Tonga; Americas 1; Asia 1
Pool B Argentina; England; Scotland; Europe 1; Play-off winner
Pool C Australia; Ireland; Italy; Europe 2; Americas 2
Pool D South Africa; Wales; Fiji; Oceania 1; Africa 1