Australia v South Africa in Durban (Tri Nations; Mandela Trophy)
Ireland v France in Bordeaux (World Cup Warm-up)
Wales v England at Cardiff (World Cup Warm-up)
Japan v Italy in Trieste (World Cup Warm-up)
United States v Canada in Glendale (World Cup Warm-up)
South Africa plays the first of its Tri Nations home games against Australia with very little/no chance of taking the title. One gets the feeling that the South Africans have another trophy in their sights and that these two home games (they play New Zealand next weekend) will be their final Rugby World Cup preparations.
Australia will not want to arrive in New Zealand with a string of losses. This will not be good for the confidence of this young side. I believe they will bounce back and push South Africa very close. If they win in South Africa and New Zealand also wins next weekend, the New Zealand-Australia clash in Brisbane on the 27th August will be a cracker!
France plays its first serious World Cup warm-up test against Ireland whilst England and Wales play the return test in Cardiff.
Japan travels to Italy for a most interesting test. Italy has rightly taken its place among the top rugby nations of the world. It will be interesting to see how they handle the Japanese.
Canada and the USA clash again, this time in the USA. The Americans put up a good fight against the Canadians last weekend. A good showing Saturday may well see them clawing back some ground against the Canadians. Canada has dominated the USA in test rugby over the last decade. Could the USA be coming into some good form before the Rugby World Cup?