More rugby for smaller nations

2012-09-19 17:18
Rugby (File)

Dublin - Tier Two and Three nations will play an unprecedented 21 matches during the November 2012 window as part of the 10 million Strategic Investment Programme, the International Rugby Board announced on Wednesday.

Canada, Chile, Fiji, Georgia, Japan, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Samoa, Tonga, Uruguay and the United States will all be in action, with the three Pacific Island teams facing up against top level opposition, rugby union's world governing body said.

"The matches, which feature 12 IRB Strategic Investment Unions are in addition to the Tier One v Tier Two fixtures within the international tours and Test schedule approved by the IRB Council in 2010," the IRB said.

IRB Chairperson Bernard Lapasset said: "This is an exciting development for the global game.

"The IRB is committed to facilitating an annual international competition schedule for our Tier Two Unions and these matches will be crucial to ensuring that there is increased competitiveness on the global stage and at Rugby World Cup 2015.

"There will be an unprecedented number of international fixtures across Europe in November, which will give sports fans a taste of what to expect in 2015 when England hosts the world's top 20 nations for Rugby World Cup."

Samoa, Tonga and Fiji each have two Tier 1 fixtures in addition to a third fixture against a Tier Two Union. Fiji also have a mid-week fixture against Gloucester.

A series of Tier Two v Tier Two fixtures have been arranged in the North Wales town of Colwyn Bay between Russia, USA, Samoa, Canada and Tonga.

In addition, Georgia will host Japan and Fiji, and Romania will host USA, for the first time in their histories.

Portugal will tour South America for a two-test series against Uruguay and Chile, Japan will play a Basque selection in San Sebastian and the French Barbarians in Le Havre, and Canada will play the Maori All Blacks in Oxford.

Namibia have opted not to tour Europe in November.

Strategic Investment Union 2012 November Schedule:

November 3

At Oxford, England

Russia v Oxford University

November 9

At Colwyn Bay, Wales

Russia v USA

Samoa v Canada

November 10

At Brescia, Italy

Italy v Tonga

At London

England v Fiji

At Bucharest

Romania v Japan

November 11

At Montevideo

Uruguay v Portugal

November 13

At Gloucester, England

Gloucester v Fiji

November 16

At Cardiff

Wales v Samoa

November 17

At Limerick, Ireland

Ireland XV v Fiji

At Tbilisi

Georgia v Japan

At Colwyn Bay, Wales

Tonga v USA

Canada v Russia

At Santiago

Chile v Portugal

November 21

At San Sebastian, Spain

Basque Selection v Japan

November 23

At Oxford, England

Canada v Maori All Blacks

November 24

At Paris

France v Samoa

At Aberdeen, Scotland

Scotland v Tonga

At Bucharest

Romania v USA

At Tbilisi

Georgia v Fiji

November 25

At Le Havre, France

French Barbarians v Japan

Read more on:    irb  |  rugby

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