Busy weekend sets stage for final preparations ahead of Japan's Rugby World Cup
Japan Times -- Jul 27
Preparations for the Rugby World Cup step up a level this week with 10 of the participating sides playing test matches, as players look to impress coaches ahead of the announcement of the final tournament squads at the end of August.

Among the nations playing are the four semifinalists from 2015 as the Rugby Championship enters its second week.

New Zealand (winner of the Webb Ellis Trophy on three occasions and two-time defending champion) plays host to South Africa (RWC winner in 1995 and 2007) in a dress rehearsal for their Pool B game on Sept. 21 in Yokohama, perhaps the most anticipated of all the pool matches, while Australia takes on Argentina.

The All Blacks and Springboks opened their Rugby Championship campaign in winning style last week, with the Kiwis edging out Argentina 20-16 and the South Africans downing Australia 35-17.

And with both sides looking to get a psychological advantage, the game in Wellington is set to be a physical one.

Meanwhile, the Wallabies and Pumas will be looking to build confidence particularly in light of the tough draws the two teams have been given at the World Cup.

Argentina is in Pool C alongside England, the only Northern Hemisphere country to have won the World Cup, and France, runner-up on three occasions, while Australia is in Pool D along with Wales and Fiji.

On Saturday, the Flying Fijians take on Japan in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, in the Pacific Nations Cup. And they do so having split a two-game series with the Maori All Blacks.

News source: Japan Times
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