It's now just over a year until the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan gets underway and with Ireland in a rich vein of form at the moment, hopes are high that we'll at least get over that elusive quarter-final hurdle.
Joe Schmidt's 2018 Grand Slam winners are currently ranked second in the world behind New Zealand but that means nothing if we don't do the job on the pitch. Preparation will of course be key and with that in mind, the IRFU has today announced four warm-up games for August and September next year.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) September 5, 2018
Two of the matches will take place at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, namely clashes against Italy (August 10) and Wales (September 7). Ireland will also play Wales away from home on August 31, a week after travelling to Twickenham to face England on August 24.
Ireland are currently second favourites to lift the Webb Ellis Cup in the Far East next year. We have never made it past the quarter-finals and have been eliminated at that stage on six occasions (1987, 1991, 1995, 2003, 2011 and 2015). At the 2019 tournament, we will compete in Pool A alongside hosts Japan, as well as Scotland, Russia and Samoa.
More information on next summer's warm-up games can be found here.
(header pic: Irish Rugby)