Saturday , October 16 2021

How is your team preparing for the Rugby World Cup?

In 100 days, the 2019 Rugby World Cup will start in Japan with the hosts facing Russia.

The final of the Top 14, which takes place this weekend, marks the last match of the main European competitions of the year. The English Premiership and Pro14 concluded earlier this month while European competitions ended in May.

The US Major League Rugby final will also be held this weekend, with champions in title, the Seattle Seawolves, traveling to Southern California to face the San Diego Legion.

In the Southern Hemisphere, Super Rugby is entering the final weeks of the competition. The final will take place on July 6º, at which time players will have a short break before the start of the 2019 Rugby Championship.

With the good season of the club, national teams will begin preparations for the September tournament.

The top teams in Europe competed for the Six Nations earlier this year, so there are no silverware to play between now and the World Cup. Instead, the sides organized a series of friendly matches. Georgia and Russia will also participate in some of the matches, playing a game against each other and participating in some matches against countries like Scotland, Italy and Argentina.

Before these "friendlies", however, Russia still have a replaying match at the Nations Cup. Russia, Namibia, Uruguay and Argentina XV are all with one win and one defeat each. Russia and Namibia will fight this weekend, while the American sides Uruguay and Argentina will also bring horns.

This will mark the end of the Namibian international games before the World Cup, however, with the African side taking part in the second tier of the Currie Cup in South Africa. Given that the Namibians are placed in a pool with the All Blacks and the Springboks in the World Cup, this preparation seems far from ideal.

Uruguay, the Nations Cup team, also has a relatively empty space for this year's World Cup. The South Americans will host Spain in the coming weeks, after which they will not score anything until a match with Brazil in early September. Neither side has qualified for the World Cup, giving you an indication of the poor competition that Uruguay will face in 2019. While Namibia at least makes Canada worse on their team, Uruguay are Group D's fifth-ranked team Turning points against even the likes of Fiji and Georgia will be difficult to find – especially when you consider the buildup that these two teams have.

Georgia, as mentioned, has matches against other European opponents, while Fiji has an excellent preparation schedule. Before the start of the Pacific Nations Cup in late July, Fiji will play a home series against the Maori All Blacks. The PNC will then see Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Japan, Canada and the US trade games (though only three each) before Fiji finished their warm-ups with a game against Tonga in late August.

Elsewhere in the Pacific, Samoa will play a New Zealand Heartland XV before tackling Australia in early September while Tonga will play their game against Fiji with a game against the All Blacks.

The hosts of Japan have had an interesting year with many of their national players representing Japan against Super Rugby B teams. Their only international match scheduled before the World Cup is against South Africa, which they won in the pool stages of the 2015 tournament.

The only United States game after the Pacific Nations Cup will be against Canada's rivals – which will also host Irish giant Leinster in Ontario.

The big wigs of the Southern Hemisphere will still have a Rugby Championship reduced to participate in 2019. Each team will play against each other once before South Africa and Argentina participate in a bonus game while New Zealand welcomes Australia in a second Bledisloe test.

Although there is a bit of supply on all sides, it is clear that the countries of the first level have considerably more useful warming hours than the goldfish. While there is definitely an argument for not exaggerating your hand or overloading your players in preparation for a World Cup, having a team of athletes in combination form and ready for pressure is equally important. We will have to wait and see which method is most successful.

International matches between now and the World Cup


July 20 v New Zealand
July 27 v Australia
August 10 v South Africa
August 17 v South Africa
August 31 v Russia


July 20 v South Africa
July 27 v Argentina
August 10 v New Zealand
August 17 v New Zealand
7 Set v Samoa

New Zealand

July 20 v Argentina
July 27 v South Africa
August 10 v Australia
August 17 v Australia
7 Sep v Tonga

South Africa

July 20 v Australia
July 27 v New Zealand
August 10 v Argentina
August 17 v Argentina
September 6 v Japan


August 11 / Wales
August 17 v Wales
24 August v Ireland
6 set v Italy


August 17 v Scotland
August 24 v Scotland
August 30 v Italy


August 10 v Italy
August 24 v England
August 31 v Wales
7 September – Wales


August 10 v Ireland
August 17 v Russia
August 30 v France
6 of September v England


August 17 v France
24 August / France
August 31 / Georgia
September 6 / Georgia


August 11 v England
August 17 v England
31 August v Ireland
September 7 v Ireland


July 13 v Maori All Blacks
July 20 v Maori All Blacks
July 27 v Japan
August 3 v Canada
August 10 v Samoa
August 31 v Tonga


July 27 v Tonga
August 3 v USA
August 10 v Fiji
August 31 v New Zealand Heartland XV
September 7 v Australia


July 27 v Samoa
August 3 v Japan
August 9 v Canada
August 31 v Fiji
September 7 v New Zealand


July 27 v Fiji
August 3 v Tonga
August 10 v USA
6 set v South Africa


Jul 27 v USA
August 3 v Fiji
August 9 v Tonga
August 24 v Leinster
September 7 v USA


July 27 v Canada
August 3 v Samoa
August 10 v Japan
September 7 v Canada


August 27 v Russia
August 31 v Scotland
6 september Scotland


15 jun v Namibia
August 17 v Italy
August 27 / Georgia
August 31 v Argentina


June 15 v Russia
Numerous Currie Cup games


June 15 v Argentina XV
22 jun Spain
7 set v Brazil

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