Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll took stock of his team's 2007 World Cup task, and admitted: "It is probably the most difficult group".
O'Driscoll's Triple Crown winners will face host nation France and three qualifiers, but that trio is likely to include the dangerous presence of Argentina, who knocked Ireland out of the 1999 World Cup and ran them perilously close in Australia last Autumn.
And unlike Wales and Scotland, Ireland won't get the possible advantage of facing their group favourites on home soil.
The clash against France is set to take place in Paris, and it could well be the tournament opener.
"It is probably the most difficult group out of the four," said O'Driscoll at Wednesday's Dublin draw.
"Someone had to get France in France and, unfortunately, it was us. It is likely to be Argentina as well, so its hardly ideal.
"But it is three-and-a-half years away, so we will deal with those problems then."
O'Driscoll has been on a winning Irish side in Paris, yet the prospect of a potential World Cup opener will be something totally different from the RBS 6 Nations arena.
"Potentially, it could be the game to kick off the competition, and France will be looking to impress their home crowd," he said.
"I think that half the battle is trying to keep the French crowd quiet.
"As for Argentina, that will be three World Cups in a row now if they emerge as top team in their qualifying section.
"I was involved in 1999 when we lost the quarter-final play-off match to Argentina in Lens.
"And it was a very nervous game against them in the last World Cup but we showed great character to come through that match."
By the time of World Cup 2007, Ireland could be a real threat.
O'Driscoll believes it is vital they build on their recent RBS 6 Nations success, when Ireland beat world champions England en route to securing the Triple Crown.
"We have worked hard over the last 18 months," he said.
"Eddie O'Sullivan (coach) has put a structure in place, and hopefully, we can continue to develop and build on that.
"Provided that we play with confidence and continue winning games, the spiral can continue upwards. We have started to get a taste of winning, and hopefully now we can keep it going."
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