HOSTS England will face a battle just to reach the quarter-finals of World Cup 2015.
Stuart Lancaster's men have been drawn in Pool A, alongside Wales and Australia.
Two qualifiers – probably Fiji and Uruguay – will complete the group.
With two from five progressing to the last eight, England will have no time to ease themselves into form.
Admitting England face a stern test, head coach Lancaster said: "It is definitely a pretty tough pool.
"To win the World Cup you have to win big games and I have got a huge amount of respect for what Wales have done recently.
"We know their squad pretty well, it is a young side and a lot of them will still be around in 2015.
"Australia have just beaten us and if you look at the age and profile of their squad, they have got some young lads as well. We will look forward to it."
The tournament kicks off on September 18, 2015, with the final to be held at Twickenham on October 31.
Kingsholm remains in the running to host matches, with a final decision on venues to be made in January.
Scotland will have it all to do against 2007 champions South Africa and livewire Samoa in Pool B, while current holders New Zealand drew Argentina and Tonga.
Ireland probably gained the most fortunate draw of the home nations, as they will line up against France and Italy in Pool D.
Two berths in each pool are yet to be decided, and the likes of Japan, Canada and USA are all in line to qualify. Georgia, Russia and Romania will fight it out for a place in Pool D, and Namibia could qualify once again.