SCOTLAND have been drawn against Ireland and host nation Japan in the pool stage of the Rugby World Cup.
Two qualifiers will complete Pool A.
Ireland also face "Europe 1" and the play-off victor in the five-team pool. "It's not a tough group, it's a good group", the Australian said.
The Springboks will have their work cut out for them if they hope to progress to the knockout stages at the 2019 IRB Rugby World Cup.
"If that comes to fruition then clearly they're going to be a different beast in the World Cup year than what they are now".
Schmidt takes his Ireland squad on a summer tour to Japan next month to play two Tests against the 2019 World Cup hosts.
Eddie Jones, England head coach, who was in charge of Japan when the Brave Blossoms overcame South Africa in Brighton in 2015, described the draw as "very exciting". It's likely they're going to continue to improve over the next few years.
"We lost to Scotland recently, so it's a mixed bag".
Townsend said: "The first reaction is one of excitement that we know which pool we'll be in".
Band Four: Oceania 1, Europe 1, Americas 1 and Africa 1.
"Everyone will be excited by the game against South Africa, and we know each other pretty well".
On the World Rugby website, the governing body has confirmed that "the Pool A victor will face the Pool B runner-up, the Pool B victor the Pool A runner-up".
England head coach Eddie Jones attended the draw at the Kyoto State Guest House alongside the rest of the global coaches, and he wasn't giving too much away with his immediate reaction to the draw.
"And we have seen that with New Zealand at previous World Cups so that has been a great lesson for us at the right time".
"The pools consist of five teams each and history shows that you need to win at least three of your four pool matches to be sure of a place in the play-offs".
The groups have been decided for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
"It's going to be tough and competitive but that is what you want - we have an early opportunity to play Australia and Georgia so that is going to create a lot of interest of the next couple of years", added Gatland.
All qualifying will be finished by the end of next year and the top two teams from each pool will reach the quarter-finals, with the tournament beginning on September 20 before concluding with the final at the International Stadium in Yokohama on November 2.
I, as a cricketer, lover of the game, think that the West Indies should be there all the time, but again I don't write the rules. All-round abilities are not only about batting and bowling, its also about wicketkeeping and batting.
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