Scotland Confirm August Tests
Scotland will face Ireland and Italy at Murrayfield next year as part of their preparations for Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand. The 2011 tournament is just over one year away – Scotland’s first game is against a yet to be determined play-off winner in Invercargill on Saturday 10 September next year – meaning that there will now be ten international matches for Scotland before the race for the William Webb Ellis trophy begins in earnest. The other countries in Scotland’s World Cup pool are Argentina – who Scotland defeated in both Tests on South American soil in June – England and Georgia. The matches next August will see Ireland visit Murrayfield on Saturday 6 August 2011 and Italy travel to the home of Scottish Rugby a fortnight later on Saturday 20 August. Kick-off times have still to be confirmed as have ticket prices. Ireland were our opponents as part of the build-up to the 2007 World Cup, when Scotland posted a 31-21 victory, crowned by a hat-trick of tries by centre Andrew Henderson. Italy were on the menu in the lead-up to the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia and the highlights of Scotland’s 47-15 success then were a superb solo try by scrum-half Mike Blair and an equally audacious debut try by winger Simon Danielli. Scotland, unbeaten in their last four cap internationals, are currently occupying seventh place in the IRB world rankings – equalling their highest position since the rankings were established. Head coach Andy Robinson said today: “I am pleased that we are able to confirm these fixtures. Both will provide the exact sort of intensity that will be part and parcel of a World Cup tournament. “Inevitably there will be much talk of the World Cup over the next year but the key thing for us is to remain focused on improvement and to respect and concentrate on our opponents in our next game – and for us that’s against New Zealand in the Autumn Tests at Murrayfield in November. “I’m looking forward to that game and our Autumn Tests against South Africa and Samoa. The players will be determined to inspire our supporters, old and new, in these Tests and the fans have a part to play too by roaring on Scotland.” Scotland’s Autumn Tests are v New Zealand on Saturday 13 November, Murrayfield, kick-off 5.15pm; v South Africa on Saturday 20 November, Murrayfield, kick-off 2.30pm; and v Samoa on Saturday 27 November at Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen, kick-off 2.30pm. Tickets for all three games are on sale now via www.scottishrugby.org or the credit card hotline number on 0844 335 3933.