(ISN) – The world’s top teams will be honing their Rugby World Cup 2015 preparations as an unprecedented schedule of November fixtures kicks off this weekend.
19 of the 20 nations that will compete at England 2015 will be in action over the coming weeks, as each team looks to lay down a marker ahead of Rugby’s showcase event.
Japan, Canada, USA, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Georgia, Romania and Namibia will join the party in a schedule of mouth-watering fixtures for Tier Two nations, aimed at providing the best-possible competition platform to increase the competitiveness of international Rugby.
The action gets underway on Friday night as Canada face Namibia at Colwyn Bay, North Wales in the IRB International Rugby Series.
Fiji, who open Rugby World Cup 2015 against host England, face RWC 2015 pool opponents Wales in Cardiff on November 15, just one week after they play France in Marseille.
Their Pacific neighbours Samoa will also get their chance to face Tier One Union opposition when they travel to Twickenham to play hosts England on November 22, having faced Italy in the opening weekend of the window.
Tonga play their RWC 2015 opponents Georgia this weekend, and will play Scotland on November 22 while Georgia get to face Six Nations champions Ireland in Dublin on November 16.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Part of our strategy is to provide quality Test competition on a regular basis for Tier Two nations in order to boost the competitiveness of the Game.”
“There is no doubt that the forthcoming November internationals, coupled with our portfolio of strategic investment competitions in June, will help achieve that.”
“There is increasing evidence that the competitiveness gap is narrowing and Rugby fans can look forward to some exciting fixtures this month.”
Other Unions in action this November include Russia who take on Hong Kong, while Portugal face Namibia and Japan travel to Tbilisi to take on Georgia.
The Tier Two programme is being financed and supported by the IRB, which invests around £10 million each year in high-performance programmes and competitions for Tier Two countries.