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Rugby World Cup: What awaits for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales?

England are the only northern hemisphere team to lift the Webb Ellis Cup.

With the 2019 Guinness Six Nations done and dusted, attention will soon turn to the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year.

Based on Six Nations form, Wales and England will be Europe's standard bearers at a tournament that will see New Zealand aim for an unprecedented world title hat-trick.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at how the World Cup could pan out for England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

ENGLAND

England v Scotland – Guinness Six Nations – Twickenham Stadium
England wing Jonny May was the top try-scorer in this season's Six Nations. (Steve Paston/PA Wire)

Fixtures (Pool C): September 22 – Tonga (Sapporo), September 26 – USA (Kobe City), October 5 – Argentina (Tokyo), October 12 – France (Yokohama).

World Cup best: Winners, 2003.

Knockout phase: England are likely to face Wales or Australia in the quarter-finals, whether they win their pool or finish second. Topping the group, and then winning the quarter-final, is likely to mean a last-four appointment with reigning world champions New Zealand.

WALES

Fixtures (Pool D): September 23 – Georgia (Toyota City), September 29 – Australia (Tokyo), October 9 – Fiji (Oita), October 13 – Uruguay (Kumamoto).

World Cup best: Third, 1987.

Knockout phase: If Six Nations champions Wales top a group that also includes Australia and Fiji, they are likely to meet France or Argentina in the last eight, and then Ireland if they progress. Should they leave their group as runners-up, then England and New Zealand loom large.

SCOTLAND

Fixtures (Pool A): September 22 – Ireland (Yokohama), September 30 – Samoa (Kobe City), October 9 – Russia (Shizuoka), October 13 – Japan (Yokohama).

World Cup best: Third, 1991.

Knockout phase: New Zealand or South Africa are set to provide Scotland's quarter-final challenge. If they win their group, it's probably South Africa, but progress as runners-up and the All Blacks are likely to block their path.

IRELAND

Ireland v France – Guinness Six Nations – Aviva Stadium
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt will be hoping his side can live up to their tag as favourites to win their pool. (Lorraine O'Sullivan/PA Wire)

Fixtures (Pool A): September 22 – Scotland (Yokohama), September 28 – Japan (Shizuoka), October 3 – Russia (Kobe City), October 12 – Samoa (Fukuoka).

World Cup best: Quarter-final play-off, 1999.

Knockout phase: Ireland will be favourites to win their pool, despite a disappointing Six Nations, and they could expect a quarter-final against South Africa if that transpires. Should they then beat the Springboks, it could be Wales – their emphatic conquerors in Cardiff on Saturday – next.

ends

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Wales head coach Warren Gatland celebrates after seeing his side win the Six Nations Grand Slam on March 16, 2019
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