Leinster and Isuzu Southern Kings to get into the World Cup swing

Charlie Talbot-Smith
01 August 2019

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Both Leinster and the Isuzu Southern Kings will get a taste of Rugby World Cup action in pre-season after both announced clashes against international opposition.

Defending champions Leinster will face Canada at the end of August in Ontario while the Kings will head to Tbilisi to take on Georgia before a double-header against Namibia.

All fixtures will serve as ideal warm-ups for the Guinness PRO14 season to come, as the two sides prepare for the many road trips ahead and test themselves against opposition intent on hitting their straps in time for Japan.

Leinster’s pre-season friendly on 24 August is at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario, the home of the Hamilton TigerCats of the Canadian Football League and Forge FC of the Canadian Premier Soccer League.

“As a club, this will be the first time we have travelled to Canada for our pre-season preparations,” said head coach Leo Cullen.

“We are looking forward to the visit and the challenge of taking on a full international side which we haven’t done in quite some time. It will be an excellent opportunity for a number of our players to get some great experience ahead of the 2019/20 season.”

The game will be a part of Canada’s Rugby World Cup preparations where they will face Italy, New Zealand, South Africa and Namibia in Pool B.

Canada head coach, and ex-Dragons supremo, Kingsley Jones, said: “This fixture is crucially important for our preparation for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

“Leinster are one of the top clubs in all of Europe – they will bring a wealth of experience and provide high-quality opposition for us as we build towards facing Italy on September 26. The rugby community has continued to support our journey to the World Cup, and I look forward to a large home crowd for this match.”

Meanwhile the Port Elizabeth-based Kings received an invitation from the Georgia Rugby Union to play in the friendly match at the Mikheil Meskhi Stadium on Tuesday, August 27. The match will kick off at 19h15.

“Georgia was set to take on Russia in their World Cup warm-up match, but the Russian team withdrew. We were the first team that the Georgian Rugby Union subsequently contacted to see if we were available,” Isuzu Southern Kings team manager, Zingi Hela, confirmed.

“We duly accepted the invitation which would work in favour of both teams – Georgia for their World Cup preparations, and for us ahead of the start of our Guinness PRO14 2019/20 season.

“We could not have asked for a better opponent at this stage than a national team that is renowned for their strong forwards pack and fierce scrummagers. This will undoubtedly be a timely opportunity for our own team to measure themselves before the start of the new season.”

Four days after that clash, on Saturday August 31, the Kings face the first of two back-to-back games against the Namibians – at the Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek – and that will be followed by the second clash in the coastal town of Walvis Bay at the Walvis Bay High School Stadium on Saturday September 7.

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