England discover their rivals in Rugby World Cup

Bill Beaumont in Japan for the World Cup draw
Bill Beaumont in Japan for the World Cup draw
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England's opening game of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan will be against Tonga.

The Pool C encounter will take place in Sapporo on September 22.

Pool A rivals Ireland and Scotland face each other in the first match, also on September 22, in Yokohama, while Pool D challengers Wales tackle Georgia first-up at the City of Toyota Stadium on September 23.

England will then face the United States - their first opponents at the 2007 World Cup - in Kobe, followed by Argentina on October 5 in Tokyo and then France in their final Pool C fixture seven days later in Yokohama.

The Sapporo Dome, venue for England's first match, opened ahead of the 2002 FIFA World Cup and has a capacity of just over 40,000.

"Rugby World Cup 2019 will be a brilliant experience for rugby supporters who travel to Japan," England head coach Eddie Jones said, in a statement released by England Rugby.

"Our aim is to win Rugby World Cup 2019, and the support for the team will be an important factor."

"We hope to see as many England fans as possible getting behind us in Japan as we try to achieve our ultimate goal, while also enjoying the atmosphere in what will be a fantastic tournament."

The 2019 match schedule was announced in Japan on Thursday, with the opening round of pool fixture clashes also featuring a heavyweight clash between reigning world champions New Zealand and their Rugby Championship rivals South Africa.

Wales' potentially-pivotal Pool D encounter against Australia - they face the Wallabies in an autumn Test series opener next week - is in Tokyo on September 29.

Wales, World Cup semi-finalists six years ago, then meet Fiji in Oita on October 9, followed by the Americas 2 qualifier (possibly Canada) at Kumamoto Stadium four days later.

After tackling Ireland, Scotland meet the yet to be decided play-off winners in Kobe on September 30, then go to Shizuoka to tackle the Europe 1 qualifiers (possibly Romania) before facing Japan, who play in the tournament's opening game against Europe 1 on September 20, on October 13.

Ireland's appointment with Japan is in Shizuoka on September 28, then they take on Europe 1 in Kobe five days later, followed by the play-off winner at Fukuoka Stadium on October 12.

The tournament's 48 games will be spread across 12 host cities, with each venue hosting a minimum of two matches. The schedule was announced by World Rugby and the Japan Rugby organising committee.

Yokohama's International Stadium stages four pool matches, in addition to both semi-finals, and then the final on November 2, 2019.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: "Today the tournament comes to life for the players and fans.

"The announcement of the match schedule and ticketing programme will generate excitement as we all look ahead to a tournament that will break new ground as the first in Asia.

"We are grateful to the cities and venues who have been at the heart of this process and will play such a central role in welcoming the world to Japan.

"We know that this will be a special, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Japan to welcome the world to the whole of this great nation, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for rugby fans from around the world to experience all Japan has to offer."