Ronnie O'Sullivan and Mark Selby were handed tough opening assignments for the Betfred World Championship on Thursday.

Both will need to be sharp on the opening weekend after five-time champion O'Sullivan was paired with Stephen Maguire and title holder Selby landed a first-round clash with Joe Perry.

Maguire and Perry have reached the semi-finals at the Crucible before, although both have fallen out of the top 16 so had to come through qualifying to reach the main draw this time.

The tournament got off to a bad start when the draw was delayed by two hours due to technical difficulties, meaning it took place at midday.

The action starts on Saturday, with Selby a 10am starter and title favourite O'Sullivan beginning his campaign in the afternoon session.

The seeds were paired with the 16 players who clinched their places by winning through three qualifying rounds.

Judd Trump was given an opener against debutant Chris Wakelin. John Higgins, a four-time winner of the tournament, will start against Thailand's Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, another newcomer to snooker's most famous venue.

Of the other likely title contenders, Ding Junhui will play fellow Chinese cueman Xiao Guodong first, Mark Williams takes on Jimmy Robertson, Neil Robertson faces Robert Milkins and Shaun Murphy tackles Jamie Jones.