Six Nations 2017: Shane Williams fears for Wales at 2019 World Cup

Six Nations: Wales v Ireland
Date: Friday, 10 March Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Kick-off: 20:05 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One Wales & S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Shane Williams fears Wales are in danger of ending up in another group of death at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Six Nations defeats by England and Scotland have meant Wales dropped to seventh in the global rankings.

Wales would fall to ninth if they lose to Ireland and France in their remaining games, one place out of the top eight who will take the best slots in Japan in 2019.

"It's a huge danger," said the former Wales and British and Irish Lions wing.

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"Because the lower you are in the rankings, the tougher the World Cup is going to be."

A 2012 defeat by Australia meant Wales had to face the Wallabies and 2015 hosts England at the last World Cup.

Wales beat England 28-25 in a memorable World Cup victory, helping to end their neighbours' bid for the world crown on home soil.

They have not beaten England since that game however and, after finishing the 2015 tournament fifth in the world, they could be four places below that when the Japan event draw is made on 10 May.

Wales in the 2017 Six Nations
Sunday, 5 February: Italy 7-33 Wales
Saturday, 11 February: Wales 16-21 England
Saturday, 25 February: Scotland 29-13 Wales
Friday, 10 March, 20:05 GMT: Wales v Ireland
Saturday, 18 March, 14:45 GMT: France v Wales

There will be four groups of five teams with the world's top eight teams at that time seeded so that the top four teams do not meet each other in pool games.

Williams says going from fifth to ninth in the world would be "massive".

He added: "If you've really got a tough group in the World Cup, by the time you get to the quarter-finals it can take a lot out of you.

"So the better and the easier the run-in to get to the quarter-finals, it's going to be easier and better for the team.

Shane Williams
Shane Williams played 87 times for Wales and won four Lions caps

"So to be ninth, you'll be in a really tough group as I think Wales found out in the last World Cup."

Wales host Ireland on Friday, 10 March in Cardiff with Williams saying Rob Howley's side "took a step backwards" at Murrayfield last weekend.

"People are questioning the style of rugby and what Wales are trying to achieve at the moment," Williams said.

"Ireland are still eyeing up the Championship because they've got England on the last day of the tournament.

"Ireland at home after two successive losses it doesn't look very promising for Wales, especially with the way Ireland are playing and winning at the moment.

"They're a very confident and clever side.

"Wales really didn't seem to know what they were doing or what direction they wanted to play - it wasn't quite all there [against Scotland].

"So it's tough. If you don't win that game, you've got to go away to France, a powerful, physical strong French team that I think have played some good rugby."

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