The 2019 Rugby World Cup pool draw will take place in Kyoto on Wednesday, with the bigwigs of the game finding out if they will end up in the group of death or be let off with a relatively comfortable pool to get out of.
Host nation Japan are also in the group - Scotland beat them in the 2015 pool stage - with Europe 1, possibly Romania, and a play-off victor completing the picture.
South Africa's slump to seventh in the world means the 1995 and 2007 champions will face the All Blacks in the pool stage for the first time in a blockbuster clash.
SCOTLAND have been drawn against Ireland and host nation Japan in the pool stage of the Rugby World Cup.
The 12 teams who finished in the top three positions in their groups at the last World Cup automatically qualify.
Beating Italy would nearly guarantee them a place in the last eight regardless of the result against the reigning world champions and give South Africa a quarterfinal against Ireland, Scotland or Japan from Pool A.
"We've been working hard since arriving back from the 2016 outgoing tour to ensure improved results from now on forward, with the Rugby World Cup on the distant horizon". We will focus on our journey towards the RWC 2019 and make sure we are ready and well prepared.
Scotland, who defeated Ireland in this year's Six Nations campaign, also beat the Irish in their only previous World Cup meeting in a pool match in Edinburgh in 1991.
"It's a great opportunity", said the New Zealander of the prospect of the Rugby World Cup being held in Japan.
"We will find out the details of which order we will play the teams in our pool and our venues in September which will kick-start the next phase of our detailed planning for the tournament".
England crashed out of their home World Cup in the pool stage two years ago after being drawn in the toughest group of the competition, featuring both Argentina and Wales.
"Everyone is pretty much in the same boat, the sea looks rough, there are pros and cons about every group", the New Zealander said.
Hansen appeared to play down English hopes of knocking the All Blacks off their perch as rugby's top side, after the 2003 champions drew France and Argentina among their pool rivals in 2019.
"You've just got to deal with each game as it comes and that is the key to tournament play", Cheika said from Japan.
Kenya-who will face off with Uganda, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Senegal for the sole African ticket-will not avoid New Zealand, Italy, South Africa and the repechage victor if they sail through.
"We don't control who we get".