Ireland must face the defending champions in the pool phase of the 2023 World Cup.
They’ve been drawn in Pool B along with the Springboks, Scotland, a European and an Asian-Pacific qualifier.
The draw was made today in Paris, with Ireland among the second seeds.
Should Ireland reach the quarter-finals, they’ll almost certainly face either the All Blacks or hosts France.
Those two are grouped in Pool A along with Italy, an Americas qualifier and an African qualifier.
Meanwhile, Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has confirmed a summer tour to New Zealand in 2022.
Pool C is comprised of Wales, Australia, Fiji, a European qualifier and the winner of the final qualification path.
And in Pool D will be England, Japan, Argentina, an Oceania qualifier and the second Americas qualifier.
"There's nothing better than a Rugby World Cup draw to get the rugby juices flowing," Farrell said of the draw.
"I think now players and fans alike know what the journey's like ahead of us and it's super exciting.
"You're always going to judge yourself against the best, and at this moment in time South Africa are no.1 in the world and rightly so.
"That's the great challenge for us. And obviously the rest of the group is pretty similar - isn't it - to the last World Cup, regarding Scotland being in there and then we'll look at how the other draws shape up.
"But it looks like similar type of teams in the last World Cup, we could be coming up against again. Obviously with the world no.1 South Africa thrown in there, rather than the hosts Japan in the last World Cup.
"It's certainly something that gets you thinking about next steps and the journey ahead. Obviously we get to play Scotland every single year, and the rivalry will continue.
"South Africa - it looks like we could get to play them in one of the autumn internationals. Not that nothing's been confirmed yet. But it looks like we might get to play them once before the World Cup, which would be great.
"But obviously there's a Lions tour that's shaping up for the summer of next year, and obviously that could be a big opportunity for our boys."
With a potential quarter-final in mind, Farrell revealed that Ireland could face the All Blacks as many as four times in the lead-in to the World Cup in France.
"There's always different ramifications of what will happen at a World Cup," Farrell told Irish Rugby, "So we'll not get too far ahead of ourselves, certainly.
"South Africa will be delighted with Ireland and Scotland, it's another World Cup quarter-final for them anyway !"@BrianODriscoll gives a cheeky response to Ireland and Scotland being drawn with South Africa in Pool B.#RWC2023 pic.twitter.com/cXztviMgol
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) December 14, 2020
"Fortunately we get to be able to play against France and to have an opportunity to play against the hosts is always great like we found in Japan.
"Obviously [with] Italy, we get to play against them so we'll know them pretty well.
"New Zealand - we'll probably get to play them once probably in the next couple of autumn series, hopefully. Maybe once or twice.
"But there's a tour in a couple of years time that takes us to New Zealand that's super exciting, and something to build on."