Georgia to play in historic Test series

Date published: March 23 2016

1024x768__origin__0x0_Tonga_player_Viliami_Helu_against_Georgia1

World Rugby have announced details of an exciting programme of June Test matches, including Tier One versus Tier Two fixtures as the road to World Cup 2019 in Japan begins in earnest.

Following a compelling World Cup 2015 that was the most competitive between the world's top-ranked teams and emerging rugby powers, Scotland will travel to Japan, Italy play Canada and the USA, while Georgia will play Fiji, Tonga and Samoa in an historic Test series in the Pacific Islands.

With World Rugby committed to closing the competition gap, the June schedule will also see World Cup 2019 preparations begin for Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, who will participate in a new-look Pacific Nations Cup that will deliver two qualifiers to the showcase event, based on cumulative points over the 2016 and 2017 editions.

With World Cup 2019 preparation on track and excitement building across Japan, the Brave Blossoms, who shook the world with their famous win over South Africa last year, will welcome Scotland for two Tests in June after they travel to play Canada in Vancouver. Japan will also welcome Ireland to their shores in 2017 and Italy in 2018. 

European Nations Cup champions Georgia will travel to the Pacific Islands, while Russia will face tough competition when they tour USA and Canada in June. 

World Rugby Head of Competitions and Performance Mark Egan said: "Following the most competitive and compelling World Cup to date, World Rugby continues to be committed to supporting Tier Two nations with high quality fixtures and high performance support.

"Our investment programme of more than £50 million over the last four-year cycle meant that Tier Two sides conceded fewer points and scored more tries against their Tier One opposition at World Cup 2015 than in any previous tournament, and we are committed to closing the gap further as we work towards the next World Cup in Japan in 2019."

The annual World Rugby Nations Cup will also give an opportunity to hosts Romania, Uruguay and Namibia to build on their World Cup 2015 performances as they play each other in the traditional round-robin competition on 9, 13 and 18 June in Bucharest.

The Nations Cup features Tier One opposition in the form of Emerging Italy and an Argentina XV, while Spain complete the line-up at an exciting tournament that forms an important part of the high-performance pathway for the participating nations and for the ongoing growth of rugby in Romania.

Due to Georgia playing Fiji, Tonga and Samoa in June, the World Rugby Tbilisi Cup will not take place in 2016. Georgia will welcome the future stars of world rugby in 2017 when they host the World Rugby U20 Championship. 

The international fixture list for November will be announced in due course.

June Tier Two Test fixtures:

June 11

Fiji v Tonga
TBC, Pacific Islands

Canada v Japan
BC Place, Vancouver

Samoa v Georgia
TBC, Pacific Islands

June 18

USA v Italy 
Avaya Stadium, California

Canada v Russia 
Rugby Park, Calgary

Japan v Scotland 
Toyota Stadium, Aichi Prefecture

Georgia v Tonga 
TBC, Pacific Islands

Fiji v Samoa
TBC, Pacific Islands

June 25

USA v Russia
Bonney Field, Sacramento

Canada v Italy
BMO Field, Toronto

Japan v Scotland
Ajinomoto Stadium, Tokyo

Samoa v Tonga
TBC, Pacific Islands

Fiji v Georgia
TBC, Pacific Islands

COMMENTS