World Cup warm-up matches week two

Preparations for the Rugby World Cup continue this weekend as five of the Guinness Six Nations teams are in action.

Preparations for the Rugby World Cup continue this weekend as five of the Guinness Six Nations teams are in action.

France and Scotland both begin their warm-up campaigns in Nice, while Italy return home to host Russia with Wales and England meeting for the second successive weekend, this time in Cardiff.


England drew first blood on Sunday as they ended Wales’ 14-match unbeaten run in a 33-19 win over the Grand Slam champions. Warren Gatland’s side will have the chance of revenge on Saturday, the teams deliberately having organised a six-day turnaround to prepare them for the demands of the World Cup.

Since the Twickenham meeting, England have named their 31-man World Cup squad, with Lewis Ludlam, Willi Heinz and Jack Singleton all included after making their debuts.

Wales, meanwhile, have lost fly-half Gareth Anscombe to injury, leaving Gatland with a decision to make over how many, and which No.10s he takes to Japan.

Wales v England 2.15pm, Cardiff


Italy began their preparations last Saturday in Dublin as a relatively experimental side went down 29-10 to Ireland.

That game marked the return from injury of Matteo Minozzi, a late addition to the starting line-up, and he is the only player to keep his place for the home clash with Russia.

Sergio Parisse returns to captain the side, with Benetton pair Tito Tebaldi and Tommaso Allan forming the half-back pairing in San Benedetto del Tronto.

The game, on Italy’s Adriatic coast, is the Azzurri’s only warm-up contest on home soil, with fixtures in France and England still to come.

Italy v Russia 6.25pm (local time), San Benedetto del Tronto


The last game on Saturday sees France welcome Scotland to the Allianz Riviera in Nice, with both teams playing their first warm-up games.

Les Bleus have been training in Monaco and then Spain in recent weeks, with Jacques Brunel having named a 31-man squad along with six reserves in May.

They will face a Scottish team that features a pair of debutants on the bench, Scott Cummings and Rory Hutchinson, as well as the return of Stuart Hogg at full-back.

Ali Price and Adam Hastings get the nod in the half-backs for Gregor Townsend’s team, with the two sides set to meet in a return fixture at BT Murrayfield next weekend.

France v Scotland 9pm (local time), 8pm (BST), Nice