Stage set for compelling June internationals


The 2017 June international window is set to deliver an exciting blend of tier one versus tier two fixtures and decisive Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifiers.

Georgia travel to the Americas to play Canada and USA before facing Argentina, while Uruguay will host the World Rugby Nations Cup in Montevideo.

The test window also sees excellent competition for Fiji, as they play Australia, Italy and Scotland before taking on Tonga and Samoa in July as part of the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup. Wales will play Samoa in Apia after facing Tonga in Auckland on 16 June adding to the rugby excitement in New Zealand, with the British and Irish Lions touring at the same time. In all, the Pacific Island Unions will play five tests against tier-one opposition in June.

The Pacific Nations Cup matches also act as Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifiers with the top two teams on aggregate across the 2016 and 2017 editions booking their tickets to Japan as Oceania 1 and 2 respectively.

Always must-see matches, the USA v Canada encounters on 24 June and 1 July will determine the Americas 1 seed qualifer for Rugby World Cup 2019.

Japan will play in the Umakana Yokana Stadium in Kumamoto, a Rugby World Cup 2019 venue, for the first time when they welcome Rugby Europe Championship winners Romania on 10 June, before playing Ireland on 17 June in Shizuoka and again the following week in Toyko. On the way to Japan, Ireland will play USA on 10 June in New Jersey.

The fixtures serve to whet the appetite ahead of the 2020-32 international calendar which will see an enhanced annual programme of tier one versus tier two fixtures.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “With excitement building ahead of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan, these matches are great for the global game with a strong programme of tier one versus tier two matches, including the Pacific Islands and Japan hosting games.

“There has been a massive step up in international competition since the last Rugby World Cup and this test window will allow for some very interesting matches, while also determining who from Oceania and the Americas will book their tickets to Rugby World Cup 2019.”

June will see the World Rugby Nations Cup take place in Uruguay for the first time, with Namibia, Spain, Argentina XV, Russia and Emerging Italy joining the hosts in Montevideo as they compete for the coveted trophy across three rounds on 10, 14 and 18 June.

Scott Harrigan
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