England line up July internationals with USA and Canada at Twickenham
England will play Test matches against the USA and Canada at Twickenham in July.
And summer games for Wales and Ireland have also been confirmed in a revised global schedule announced by World Rugby.
Guinness Six Nations champions Wales had been due to tour Argentina, with England visiting the USA and Canada, but the coronavirus pandemic has driven a change of plan.
England will host the USA on July 4 and Canada six days later, with at least a 10,000-capacity expected for each match, while Cardiff’s Principality Stadium will stage Wales games against Canada and Argentina from July 3-17, and Ireland have Dublin appointments with Japan and the USA.
Scotland’s July fixtures against Romania and Georgia had already been announced.
The Rugby Football Union said that there will also be an England A game played against Scotland A at Mattioli Woods Welford Road in Leicester on June 27.
England head coach Eddie Jones, who will be without an 11-strong British and Irish Lions contingent, said: “The summer series will give us the chance to look at a lot of players and see how they step up, and it’s an important part of our World Cup preparation.
We are really looking forward to having supporters back in the stadiums
“For younger players, it’s a chance to show what they can do at international level and how they are in the team environment.
“There aren’t too many opportunities to lead at international level, so for the more experienced players it’s a chance to take further leadership roles and grow their game in that area.
“We are really looking forward to having supporters back in the stadiums, it makes such a difference and we expect it’ll be three exciting matches for everyone watching.”
South Africa, who have not played since they beat England in the 2019 World Cup final 18 months ago, will warm up for the Lions Test series with two games against Georgia.
Wales’ fixture against Canada will see a Cardiff return for former Wales assistant coach Rob Howley.
Howley, who is now part of the Canadian coaching team alongside fellow ex-Wales captain Kingsley Jones, was sent home from Wales’ 2019 World Cup campaign in Japan and subsequently banned for breaching betting rules.
Assessing the summer fixtures, Wales head coach Wayne Pivac said: “It is disappointing not to have the opportunity to tour Argentina, especially on the back of our 2020 tour to New Zealand being cancelled, but in the current climate it is completely understandable.
“What is important is we have games, and as we have said all along, this summer is a huge opportunity for us. ”
And Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Steve Phillips added: “We are, of course, acutely aware of current restrictions and the ongoing and complex global Covid-19 picture.
“We will continue to monitor the situation in terms of any potential spectator access, but will remain entirely compliant and vigilant of all restrictions.
“In the current circumstances, we are simply delighted to be able to play international rugby, and any advance on that will be a bonus.”
In a statement, World Rugby said: “A strong revised programme of men’s Test matches is set to take place in July after all unions and World Rugby agreed a revised schedule within the existing window.
“The revisions have been made recognising an ongoing and complex global Covid-19 picture, while aiming to limit further impact.”
And World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont added: “This has taken a monumental effort from all concerned.
“While there is light at the end of the tunnel in respect to Covid-19 in many nations, the challenges continue to be present, dynamic and impactful.
“And therefore I would like to thank the unions, their respective governments, broadcast and commercial partners and players for their flexibility and full commitment to the process.
“Fans around the world can now look forward to an exciting bumper schedule of men’s Test matches involving at least 25 teams, which will be a welcome sight for everyone.
“The road to Rugby World Cup 2023 also continues with key qualifiers for Samoa and Tonga and, of course, we are anticipating a fascinating British and Irish Lions series.”
Other summer highlights including Australia hosting France in a three-Test series and New Zealand entertaining Fiji.
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