Ireland line up three-Test tour of America and Canada
IRELAND WILL undertake a three-Test series next summer in America and Canada at the same time as the British and Irish Lions tour Australia.
An Ireland team will take on the US Eagles in Houston, Texas – the venue is still to be confirmed officially – on Saturday, June 8th. The tour then moves to Toronto for the first Test against Canada on Saturday, June 15th, before finishing in Vancouver on Saturday, June 22nd with a second Test match against their hosts.
Caps will be awarded for the Tests as they form part of the official IRB touring schedule. On that note next year’s November Test series will see Ireland host Samoa, New Zealand and Australia before heading to Argentina in the summer of 2014.
The Lions tour begins on June 1st, when Warren Gatland’s squad will take on a Barbarians team in Hong Kong. The famous invitational side will be coached by former Wales and Lions prop forward and current Wasps coach, Dai Young.
The Lions’ first game in Australia is against Super 15 franchise the Force, in the Perth Oval on June 5th.
The US Eagles and Canada competed in a quadrangular American Rugby Championship (ARC) which finished at the weekend.
An America side with players are drawn from their domestic championship finished fourth, beaten by Argentina and Uruguay, while the Canadians (minus their overseas contingent) went down to what was ostensibly an Argentine A side (Jaguars) in the final.
The Eagles are coached by Mike Tolkin, who took over from former Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan, and for this tournament included Irishman Gavin Hickie as forwards coach. The 32-year-old former St Mary’s College, Leinster, London Irish, Worcester Warriors and Leicester Tigers hooker is head coach at Belmont Shore RFC and is forwards coach to the USA Under-20 team.
The IRFU are also set to confirm an A international that will see the Ireland Wolfhounds host the England Saxons on the weekend prior to the start of the 2013 Six Nations Championship. The venue has yet to be decided.
The existing Wolfhounds backroom set-up of Connacht coach Eric Elwood and Munster forwards coach Anthony Foley, will likely be asked to prepare a team selected by Ireland coach Declan Kidney.
The IRFU are also due to announce the coaches for the national age grade teams. Given the success of Mike Ruddock – narrowly missed out a Grand Slam and finished a highest ever fifth in the Junior (U-20) World Championship – he would appear a shoo-in on to continue, so too Noel McNamara (U-18 Schools) and Wayne Mitchell (U-18 Clubs).
KEY DATES: For 2013
SIX NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP
Saturday, 2nd: Wales v Ireland, Millennium Stadium, 1.30; England v Scotland, Twickenham, 4pm; Sunday, 3rd: Italy v France, Stadio Olimpico, 3pm; Saturday, 9th: Scotland v Italy, Murrayfield, 2.30; France v Wales, Stade de France, 5pm; Sunday, 10th: Ireland v England, Aviva Stadium, 3pm;
Saturday, 23rd: Italy v Wales, Stadio Olimpico, 2.30; England v France, Twickenham, 5pm; Sunday, 24th: Scotland v Ireland, Murrayfield, 2pm.
Saturday, 9th: Scotland v Wales, Murrayfield, 2.30; Ireland v France, Aviva Stadium, 5pm;
Sunday, 10th: England v Italy, Twickenham, 3pm; Saturday, 16th: Italy v Ireland, Stadio Olimpico, 2.30; Wales v England, Millennium Stadium, 5pm; France v Scotland, Stade de France, 8pm;
Saturday, 1st: Lions Tour: Barbarians v British and Irish Lions, So Kon Po Stadium, Hong Kong; Wednesday, 5th: Lions Tour: Force v Lions, Perth Oval.
Saturday, 8th: Lions Tour: Reds v Lions, Lang Park, Brisbane. International: USA v Ireland, Houston, Texas (tbc).
Wednesday, 12th: Lions Tour: Combined NSW-Queensland Country v Lions, Ausgrid Stadium, Newcastle. Saturday, 15th: Lions Tour: Waratahs v Lions, Sydney Football Stadium. International: Canada v Ireland, Toronto.
Tuesday, 18th: Lions Tour: Brumbies v Lions, Canberra Stadium; Saturday, 22nd: Lions Tour – First Test: Australia v British and Irish Lions, Lang Park, Brisbane. International: Canada v Ireland, Vancouver.
Tuesday, 25th: Lions Tour: Melbourne Rebels v Lions, Melbourne Rectangular Stadium. Saturday, 29th: Lions Tour – Second Test: Australia v Lions, Docklands Stadium, Melbourne.
Saturday 6th: Lions Tour – Third Test: Australia v Lions, Stadium Australia, Sydney.
Ireland v Samoa; Ireland v New Zealand; Ireland v Australia; tbc