Rugby World Cup history will be made on Wednesday when the draw for France 2007 takes place in Dublin.
Four countries - last year's beaten World Cup quarter-finalists Scotland, Wales, Ireland and South Africa - are at the mercy of lady luck.
They will feature in the draw's main ballot section, each nation selected at random to go into one of four pools headed by 2003 World Cup semi-finalists England, Australia, New Zealand and France.
Those four giants of the game are to be kept apart, but Scotland, for instance, will be drawn alongside one of them, a fate that also awaits Wales, Ireland and the Springboks.
It is the first time in Rugby World Cup's 17-year history that the whole draw has not been based exclusively on seedings or rankings.
World champions England met both South Africa and Wales in Australia last autumn, defeating the Springboks 25-6 in a crucial Pool C clash at Perth's Subiaco Oval, then edging out Wales 28-17 after a pulsating Brisbane quarter-final.
England also have previous history with Scotland, knocking them out of the 1991 semi-finals, but in World Cup terms, Ireland would represent new territory.
It is conceivable that Ireland could be drawn alongside Australia, Scotland with France, Wales in New Zealand's five nation pool and South Africa alongside England. That would be an exact repeat of the last World Cup.
While the pool allocations of rugby's top eight countries will be settled in the draw at a Dublin City centre restaurant, there are 12 other spaces that require filling.
An extensive qualifying tournament at various times over the next three years or so means that countries such as Argentina, Italy, Samoa and Fiji will take up their anticipated positions much nearer the time.
Ten places will be filled by Europe 1, 2 and 3, Americas 1, 2 and 3, Oceania 1 and 2, Africa 1 and Asia 1.
And the remaining two spots will eventually be decided by play-offs, the winner of Africa 2 versus Europe 4 will face Americas 4 for one place, with Oceania 3 and Asia 2 facing a showdown for the other, completing a 20 strong finals line-up.
The next World Cup will take place in September and October 2007, staged across a dozen cities in France, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
The Celtic countries will also each host three group games, with Wales also staging a quarter-final.
The French cities identified as venues are Paris, Bordeaux, Lens, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nantes, Saint-Etienne and Toulouse.
The 80,000 capacity Stade de France in Paris, principal venue for the 1998 soccer World Cup, is set to host the final on October 20, 2007.
Among rugby personalities expected to attend the draw are England coach Andy Robinson and back-row forward Richard Hill, Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll and French skipper Fabien Pelous.
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