Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend is excited by the World Cup draw announced for the 2023 edition.
The Dark Blues are in Pool B that has the World number one ranked team and defending champions South Africa along with Ireland with Qualifiers from Asia/Pacific and Europe forming the rest of the group.
Townsend's men had a good outing this year having finished fourth in the Six Nations and also had ended fourth in the recently concluded Autumn Nations Cup.
Having missed the play-off in the World Cup last year with Japan and Ireland being the teams progressed to the quarter-finals, Townsend is expecting a tough challenge in the 2023 edition as well.
“There’s an excitement that you see the draw and you think ahead to Paris in three years’ time – I think it will be a wonderful tournament,” said Townsend.
“And then there’s the reality of who you are going to play against. I believe it’s the toughest pool.
“On current world rankings – Ireland are ranked fifth in the world, South Africa are ranked first, they are the world champions, and we’re ranked seventh – all three teams are in the top eight in the world, which means it is going to be very competitive.”
Meanwhile, Ireland head coach Andy Farrell is looking forward for a competitive opening round.
“There’s nothing better than a Rugby World Cup draw to get the juices flowing, so super excited,” said Farrell.
“If Jacques is saying they will have to play some good rugby to get out of the group, I’m sure that me and Gregor are thinking the same as well.
“With the Lions tour, what an opportunity for the Scots and for the Irish boys to put their hand up during this Six Nations and get on that tour and learn all about what it’s like to take the world champions on in their own backyard.
“There is nothing more exciting for a player than that. It’s a big couple of years ahead for all of us really.”