England manager Martin Johnson predicted a "hell of a game" against Scotland when the two old enemies meet in the group stages of the 2011 World Cup.
Both sides avoided Tri-Nations super-powers New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, who all enjoyed convincing victories at Twickenham last month.
They are joined in Pool B by fourth seeds Argentina with the final two berths to be filled by the leading European qualifier - possibly Georgia or Romania - and a play-off winner. In 2007, that was Portugal.
England’s potential quarter-final opponents will come from Pool A and are almost certain to be either New Zealand or France.
It is hard enough for Johnson, as pragmatic a coach as they come, to consider what might happen three years hence, nevermind predict potential knock-out opponents.
But he knows England’s second World Cup encounter with Scotland - the first was a 9-6 victory in the 1991 semi-final - will be a seismic occasion.
“Playing Scotland in the World Cup will be a hell of a game, with huge passion. We haven’t played them in a World Cup since 1991. That was a tight game,” he said.
Johnson refused to buy into the theory that England had escaped lightly in yesterday’s draw just because they avoided Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.
“Scotland were quarter-finalists last year, we finished second and Argentina finished third,” said Johnson, who played in England’s World Cup win over the Pumas in 1995.
“Argentina have been successful. They went to the World Cup in 2007 and came through the toughest pool of all and they could have got to the final.
“If you want to get to the last week of the World Cup you need to be good enough to beat the best in the world. Whoever we got in the pool doesn’t change anything in that regard.
“There are some pretty tough groups there. Scotland and Fiji were in the third band and they both reached the quarter-finals at the last World Cup.
“There will be some awesome games before the quarter-finals - England v Scotland, England v Argentina, New Zealand v France, Ireland v Australia, Wales v South Africa.”
But Johnson did concede England need to take significant strides if they are to be considered potential challengers.
England conceded 102 points and nine tries in three comprehensive defeats to the SANZAR nations over the last month.
“It is nice to be here and think of three years time - but we have to get better as a team,” said Johnson.
“When you look at teams that have won it, the last three have all been pretty experienced and the three England teams to have reached finals (in 1991, 2003 and 2007) have all been very experienced.”
Johnson and his coaching staff are meeting this week to review the autumn series, which began with a victory over the Pacific Islanders before the hat-trick of crushing defeats.