Wallabies to use European tour as World Cup warmup
SYDNEY (AP) — Ewen McKenzie will use the November tour to Europe to fine-tune his Wallabies for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, with clashes against group rivals England and Wales highlighting a five-match program.
The tour will start and finish at Twickenham, venue for the World Cup final, with an opening match against the Barbarians on Nov. 1 and a test against England on Nov. 29.
In between, the Wallabies will play Wales in Cardiff, France in Paris and Six Nations champion Ireland at Dublin.
The Wallabies won the last four matches of their 2013 European tour, beating Italy, Ireland, Scotland and Wales after a narrow defeat to England.
“With the Rugby World Cup just a year away in England, we have scheduled games against five teams that will bring a different style to each,” coach McKenzie said. “We’ll also get a chance to play two games at Twickenham — the venue where two of our pool games will take place — as part of a tour that should help further our preparations ahead of the World Cup.”
Two-time World Cup winner Australia was drawn into the toughest of the preliminary groups, with contenders England and Wales among the five teams in the pool. Only two teams progress to the quarterfinals.
Britain has been Australia’s most successful Rugby World Cup hunting ground, with the Wallabies winning the 1991 edition with a grand final victory over England at Twickenham and becoming the first two-time champions with a win over France at Cardiff in 1999.
Australia’s tour schedule:
Nov. 1 — vs. Barbarians at London; Nov. 8 — vs. Wales at Cardiff; Nov. 15 — vs. France at Paris; Nov. 22 — vs. Ireland at Dublin; Nov. 29 — vs. England at London.