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Australia, England, South Africa and Scotland in RWC 'previews'

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irb.com and James Mortimer     27 Oct 2013     Getty Images

While the November 2012 internationals saw the 12 direct qualified teams battling to gain valuable IRB World Rankings points ahead of the Pool Allocation Draw, this year’s fixtures will give teams around the world the chance to ensure the building blocks are firmly in place with less than two years to go until rugby’s showpiece event.

Some teams will even have the chance to take on opponents that they are set to face at RWC 2015, giving an insight into how they match up against their pool phase rivals as they enter the business-end of preparations for the tournament.

The All Blacks will not be playing any opponent on during their Air New Zealand End of Year tour that they will face during the pool stages of the 2015 tournament.

Three of next month’s internationals will be dry-runs of RWC 2015 pool matches:

Pool A
2 November: England v Australia at Twickenham
30 November: Wales v Australia at Millennium Stadium

Pool B
17 November: Scotland v South Africa at Murrayfield

But it isn't just the Tier One nations that will be in action in November. As well as the traditional internationals that will thrill fans in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy, there will also be plenty of eye-catching Tests between rugby’s emerging nations.

Of the host of November internationals involving Tier Two nations, there are some fixtures which could be repeated at RWC 2015, among them are:

Pool B
9 November: Scotland v Japan (Asia 1) at Murrayfield

Pool C
9 November: Romania (Europe 1) v Tonga at Stadionul National Arcul de Triumf, Bucharest

Pool D
9 November: Georgia (Europe 2) v Canada at Dinamo Arena, Tbilisi
16 November: Romania (Europe 2) v Canada at Stadionul National Arcul de Triumf, Bucharest

Tier Two nations will play a record number of Test matches next month. The expanded schedule is financed and supported by the International Rugby Board which, largely thanks to the success of Rugby World Cup as a major global brand, invests more than $17 million each year in high-performance programmes and competitions for Tier Two Unions.

Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Russia, USA, Canada, Romania, Japan, Uruguay, Portugal, Georgia, Chile, Brazil and Spain are all in action, with the three Pacific Island teams and Japan once again facing Tier One opposition as they enter an important phase in preparations for RWC 2015 - or a key qualifier against the Cook Islands next year in Fiji's case.

The November schedule also represents an important milestone in the evolution of international Test rugby, with historic first-ever visits by Pacific Island Unions Samoa and Tonga to Georgia and Romania respectively, as well as Portugal visiting Sao Paulo to take on Brazil for a first-ever Test match between the two sides.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "The November 2012 and June 2013 programmes have really showcased the tremendous competitive strides that Tier Two Unions are making with Samoa defeating Wales, Scotland and Italy, Tonga defeating Scotland and Japan recording a first-ever victory over Wales. I am anticipating a truly captivating November series of matches."