IRFU confirm Ireland’s pre-Rugby World Cup schedule
Joe Schmidt’s side will play England, Italy and Wales twice before heading to Japan
Joe Schmidt’s Ireland will play four summer fixtures ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
The IRFU have confirmed that Ireland will play four fixtures in August and September 2019 in preparation for the Rugby World Cup in Japan. The series opens with one against Italy in Dublin, a second against England in London and two against Wales, home and away.
Joe Schmidt and his squad, currently ranked at two in the world behind New Zealand, will open their pre-Tokyo campaign by hosting Conor Shea and Italy on Saturday 10th August at the Aviva Stadium before travelling to England two weeks later for a meeting at Twickenham on Saturday 24th August.
Ireland then face Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday August 31st before playing their final fixture ahead of RWC19 at the Aviva Stadium, again against Wales, on Saturday 7th September.
Going on current world rankings, it gives Ireland competitive pitch time against the third ranked team in the world, Wales, and the fourth ranked team, England. Australia are presently ranked fifth, Scotland sixth and South Africa seventh.
It brings to 13 the number of international fixtures Ireland have between the November Series in 2018 against Italy, Argentina, New Zealand and the USA, the Six Nations Championship next spring and the World Cup, which begins for Ireland against Scotland on Sunday September 22nd in Yokohama.
This year’s remaining fixtures will be shown live on Channel 4, after the broadcaster announced a deal to show all of Ireland’s autumn internationals for the next four years.
The deal begins with the upcoming November series and also includes coverage of two of Ireland’s 2019 World Cup warm-up matches, against Italy and Wales.
This means Ireland’s clash with the All Blacks, for example, will be available to watch free-to-air in the UK, as well as on RTÉ.
Ireland Guinness Summer Series Fixtures: IRELAND v Italy, Aviva Stadium, Saturday August 10th, 2019; England v IRELAND, Twickenham Stadium, Saturday August 24th, 2019; Wales v IRELAND, Principality Stadium, Saturday August 31st , 2019; IRELAND v Wales, Aviva Stadium, Saturday September 7th, 2019