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Ireland’s Tour of Australia Confirmed for Summer 2020

Rugby Australia have confirmed that Ireland will be visiting the Wallabies for a tour next summer including a game at a historic venue

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(Photo by Ashley Western/MB Media/Getty Images)

Rugby Australia have confirmed the dates and venues for their two-test visit of Ireland in the summer of 2020.

In what will be Ireland head coach Andy Farrell’s first summer tour in charge, his troops will head down under to face the Wallabies in July 2020. 

The first of the games will be played on Saturday the 4th at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane  while the second will be a week on at the Sydney Cricket Ground, a venue that has not seen any rugby since 1986. 

Ireland and the Wallabies last played there in 1979 and Australian Rugby CEO Raelene Castle is delighted to be going back to one of the most iconic venues in the country. 

“The Sydney Cricket Ground is one of the most iconic venues in Australian sport and has hosted some of the most famous rugby Test matches ever played in this country. Returning there in 2020 for the second Test against Ireland will be a nostalgic experience for those who watched Test matches there through the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and a chance to be part of history for the younger generation watching a Test at the SCG for the first time. The last time these two countries played in Sydney, the stadium and the whole Paddington and Moore Park precinct came to life and was flooded with fans wearing green and gold, not to mention the on-field action which went right down to the wire as Ireland pipped the Wallabies to win the series,” she said. 

Ireland won their first series down under for 40 years when Joe Schmidt lead his side to a 2-1 victory last year, only the second-time in the nations history that they have managed the feat. 

While for Farrell it will be his first tour as head coach, it will also be the first tests for whoever takes up the reins with the Wallabies, as head coach Michael Cheika stepped down following the country’s quarter-final exit to England in the Rugby World Cup last month. 

It will be a new start for both countries as they look to build toward a bright future and it could be an indication of just who is going in the right direction or not. 

International

England’s Final November Test Confirmed

England have announced their fourth and final opponent of their November series this year

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

England have confirmed that Tonga will be their fourth opponent in their November series this year.

The game will take place at Twickenham on Saturday November 21st at 15:15 in what will be the third of their four tests. 

It will be the fourth meeting of the two sides, but their first outside of a Rugby World Cup. They last played against one another last year at the World Cup in Japan, when England won as they have done on the other previous two occasions. 

Before the two teams meet England will take on the All Blacks on November 7th and then Argentina on the 14th. 

While after the Tongan encounter they face another southern hemisphere team in Australia on the 28th in the final of their Quilter Internationals for 2020. 

Those tests could go a long way to deciding England’s seeding in the draw for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, with the draw set to take place at some point in November. 

Before then the English will be focusing on the Six Nations, where they remain in title contention heading into the last two rounds. 

Next up for Eddie Jones’ side is a clash with Wales, however, their final game against Italy in Rome is under threat due to the Coronavirus outbreak within the country.

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International

Rugby Australia Claim Fox Sports Haven’t Walked Away

Last week it was reported that Fox Sports are set to end their 25-year long relationship with Australian Rugby, but Rugby Australia have now said otherwise

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(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle has claimed that Fox Sports haven’t walked away from the Wallabies and believes they could continue their relationship into the future.

Last week it was reported that the media organisation were set to end their 25-year relationship with Rugby Australia, but despite not having come to a deal that suits all Castle’s believes they will bid for rights next month. 

“We went through a negotiating process with them (Fox Sports) through their exclusive negotiating period. Unfortunately we couldn’t get to a place we were both comfortable with. So now we’re in tender and we would expect that as a market process they would step into that process,” she said. 

Reports state that Fox Sports had ended their relationship with Rugby Australia after the two bodies failed to find common ground on a deal between 2021 and 2025. 

Rugby Australia and Castle are set to make a historic move next month when they bring the broadcast rights to the market for the first time since the professional era began, but as stated above she is confident of an agreement between the two either way. 

There is a fear among many that Australia’s struggling Super Rugby sides, three of which remain without a win so far this season, will make it harder for the organisation to get a good deal over the line. 

However, all will become clearer by next month and Castle and co will be hoping that they can get the best deal possible.

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Ireland Climb in Latest World Rankings

Ireland have had the biggest boost in the latest World Rugby Rankings ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup draw later this year

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(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Ireland have leapfrogged Wales in the latest World Rugby Rankings of the the 2023 Rugby World Cup draw in November of this year.

The boys in green have taken over the No 4 spot in the rankings following their 24-14 win over Wales in the Six Nations over the weekend, with their opponents dropping down to fifth. 

It is a major boost for the Irish and gives them something to hold on to heading into the rest of this year’s fixtures as they are now currently in the top seeds ahead of the draw for the pool stages of France 2023. 

World Rugby announced recently that they will hold the draw later this year meaning that teams will have less time to climb the rankings than last time around when they had 18 months between the previous World Cup and the draw for the next one. 

A total of twelve teams will head into the draw as seeds in three brackets with the top four in the rankings being first seeds, meaning as of now Wales would be second seeds along with France, Australia and Japan. 

While Scotland, Argentina, Italy and Fiji are in the third bracket, with the remainder of the teams to be decided through different qualifiers over the next three years. 

Elsewhere in the rankings Georgia have moved up ahead of Italy, following the former’s latest two defeats in the Six Nations, while the biggest risers have been Portugal, who have moved from 22nd to 20th, but Russia have dived from 20th to 25th. 

Ireland will be hoping to continue their perfect start to the Six Nations campaign when they take on the third-ranked team England away from home, whom they may look to overtake in the rankings before the draw. 

It is certainly heating up between the Six Nations teams as they try to be the best-placed behind South Africa and New Zealand, who take the first and second spots, but won’t play until the summer.

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