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This weekend marks another in a series of Rugby World Cup warmup matches for the tournament (8th) that begins September 18 when England meet Fiji.
The “Big Game” will feature a rematch between Australia and New Zealand, playing for the Bledisole Cup, which in size, is the largest rugby trophy in the world. (See photo above.) The All Blacks, smarting from last week’s upset loss to the Wallabies, have not lost this coveted cup since 2002. Moreover, when playing in Auckland - where the match will be held - New Zealand have not lost here since 1994, and have not lost to the Wallabies in Auckland since 1986. This will be the All Blacks last match before the RWC, while Australia scheduled a final tune up against the USA at Soldier Field, Chicago, on September 5. Tickets available at www.usarugby.org.
Elsewhere, Ireland host Scotland in Dublin. The Scots are in the Pool A with the USA, Japan, Samoa, and South Africa. Ireland beat its Celtic rival in the Six Nations Championship this past year.
Another key matchup will witness England welcoming France at Twickenham. How good are the Red Roses? This Saturday will provide a clearer picture of the English XV, one of the favorites to make it into the final of the RWC. France have had midland results this year, and a win would boost confidence for Les Blues.
Argentina host South Africa for a second match in Buenos Aires. Look to see the Springboks bounce back from last week’s humiliating defeat by the Pumas, and a subsequent deep drop to fifth in World Rugby Standings,
Finally, Japan welcome a World Rugby XV, an all-star squad that play national teams. The World Rugby side lost to South Africa 46-10 last July.