Ireland will be second seeds for the 2023 World Cup following World Rugby's decision to rank teams based on their positions from last January.

It means that Ireland will be pooled with one of World Cup winners South Africa, New Zealand, England or Wales, all first seeds, and one of third seeds Scotland, Argentina, Fiji or Italy.

The draw for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France will take place in Paris on 14 December using seedings based on the world rankings taken after last year's tournament.

Organisers said it was the "least-worst option" following the disruption of the international calendar in 2020.

Originally, the seedings would have been based on placings after the November internationals, which would have given Andy Farrell's side the opportunity to improve their standing. 

However, recognising the potential for major swings in form and personnel over such a long period, the Rugby World Cup Board has also recommended that the draw for future tournaments should take place no earlier than one year before the event.

Ireland are among 12 teams to have automatically qualified owing to a top-three place in their 2019 World Cup pools - champions South Africa, England, Wales, New Zealand, Japan, France, Australia, Scotland, Italy, Argentina and Fiji are the others.

The remaining eight teams will come through the regional qualification process.

Ireland will be in Band Two of the draw, alongside Australia, France and Japan.

Scotland, Argentina, Fiji and Italy in Band Three. Bands Four and Five consist of qualifiers.

"While Covid-19 means that, in the interests of fairness for all qualified teams, we have needed to draw a line under the rankings at the beginning of the year, everyone should appreciate that this is a unique time.

"We can't delay and we must continue to accelerate planning for what is going to be a truly spectacular and special Rugby World Cup 2023 in France," World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said in a statement. 

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