England set for Newcastle date with Italy

London (AFP) –


England are set to play their first Test match in Newcastle after confirming their plans for the build-up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Eddie Jones' side will face Italy at St James' Park on September 6, 2019.

It is the first time since October 2015 that England have played a home Test away from Twickenham.

That was the 2015 World Cup dead rubber with Uruguay at the Etihad Stadium.

The Italy match is one of four pre-World Cup warm-up matches scheduled by England, who will play Wales twice, on August 11 at Twickenham and six days later in Cardiff, and Ireland at Twickenham on August 24.

St James' Park is usually the home of Premier League football team Newcastle, but hosted matches in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

England have played home Tests at Old Trafford, Manchester, in 1997 against New Zealand and 2009 against Argentina, and in Huddersfield, when Italy and Holland were the opponents in 1998.

These internationals, Jones said, "will be extremely important to the squad's final preparations before we head out to Japan."

"It is great news to be able to take England to another part of the country and Newcastle will be fantastic hosts like they were for the matches here in 2015."