Road to Rugby World Cup 2019 confirmed
Scotland’s 2019 Summer Series of Test matches leading to Rugby World Cup 2019 have been confirmed, creating two pairs of back-to-back fixtures against opponents France and Georgia.
The four-match, Summer-Test schedule will begin when Scotland travel to face France on Saturday 17 August, before hosting the return fixture at BT Murrayfield a week later (Saturday 24 August).
The first leg of the double header against Georgia follows on Saturday 31 August, where Scotland will be the first Tier 1 nation to face the Lelos on home soil at the Dinamo Arena in Tbilisi.
The national team will then complete its competitive preparations for RWC2019 on home soil, when they face Georgia on the weekend of Friday/Saturday 6/7 September at BT Murrayfield.
A final, 31-man Scotland squad will then travel to Nagasaki for a holding camp on the eve of RWC 2019, through the strategic alliance with Nagasaki City signed in 2016.
The camp aims to help the squad acclimatise to the local conditions and the time difference before heading into their official tournament camp.
Scotland Head Coach, Gregor Townsend, said: “With 18 months to go until Rugby World Cup 2019, our planning for the tournament is well underway.
“These warm-up matches against quality international opposition will give us the chance to assess fully where we are as a squad, as well as give players the opportunity to put their hands up for selection for Japan.
“Scotland’s matches against France are typically closely-contested, physical encounters. They are an excellent team who will test us in defence and attack.
“Georgia are currently placed 12th in the World Rugby Rankings and are a country on the rise. Playing against them will be a good test for us ahead of our pool matches at the Rugby World Cup.”
Mark Dodson, Scottish Rugby Chief Executive, added: “We are looking forward to the games against France and Georgia. These fixtures will form an important part of our Rugby World Cup 2019 preparations and give us an opportunity to further deepen our strategic relationship with the FFR and our ongoing connection with the Georgian union.
“Georgia is a growing force in world rugby and we are delighted to be the first Tier 1 nation to face the national team in Tbilisi.”
France Head Coach, Jacques Brunel, said: “Playing Scotland and Italy will be a great opportunity to evaluate our ability to compete with two great qualified nations for RWC 2019 in Japan.
“It is a full part of our preparation process and a good stage to supervise our players before releasing our final squad. I am sure our players will commit themselves 100% in these contests.”
Milton Haig, Georgia Head Coach, said: “The scheduling of these two matches to help us prepare for the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan is an historical moment for our team and our union.
“History will be made as it will be the first time Scotland will have played here in Georgia and the first ever Tier 1 Nation to play a match on Georgian home soil.
“This is testament to the relationship Georgia and Scotland have forged over the last few years and the national team are extremely humbled and privileged to play such an outstanding international team in front of our families, friends and very supportive rugby fans."
2019 Summer Test schedule
Saturday 17 August: France v Scotland; Venue TBC (kick-off TBC)
Saturday 24 August: Scotland v France; BT Murrayfield (kick-off TBC)
Saturday 31 August: Georgia v Scotland; Dinamo Arena, Tbilisi, Georgia (kick-off TBC)
Weekend of Friday/Saturday 6/7 September: Scotland v Georgia; BT Murrayfield (kick-off TBC)