Rugby fans in North Wales are set for a treat this November when Colwyn Bay's Parc Eirias plays host to matches in the inaugural IRB International Rugby Series.
Canada (IRB World Ranking 13), Russia (19), Samoa (10), Tonga (12) and USA (17) will play tests over two match days on November 9 and 17 and with some of the world's most exciting players set to feature, the event promises to capture the imagination of sports fans in the region.
Funded by the International Rugby Board and supported by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and Conwy County Borough Council, the matches in Wales form part of an unprecedented programme of 2012 IRB International Rugby Series matches between Tier Two and Tier Three nations aimed at increasing competitiveness looking ahead to Rugby World Cup 2015 in England.
These matches are in addition to those between Tier One and Tier Two/Three nations within the 2012-2019 international tours and test schedule which has increased opportunities for emerging Rugby powers to play the world's best teams in June and November.
Other Unions involved in the 2012 International Rugby Series are Chile, Fiji, Georgia, Japan, Portugal, Romania, Uruguay.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "The introduction of the IRB International Rugby Series is an exciting and important development for Rugby worldwide and underlines the IRB’s commitment to assisting Tier Two and Three Unions access a competition schedule that meets their strategic high performance needs and delivers IRB World Rankings opportunities."
"We are delighted that Colwyn Bay is going to host these matches and I would like to thank the WRU and Conwy County Borough Council for their desire to bring the matches to Wales. I am sure that the fans will be in for a treat with the prospect of four highly-competitive matches involving some of the most exciting players in the Game."
Cllr Graham Rees from Conwy County Borough Council said: “We’re proud that we’ve been able to secure these exciting fixtures for Eirias, Colwyn Bay. It’s clear there are many fans and enthusiastic spectators here in North Wales and we’re pleased to be able to offer the facilities for everyone to enjoy top flight Rugby.”
WRU Head of Rugby Joe Lydon said: “We are delighted that North Wales and specifically Eirias, Colwyn Bay, have been selected as the venue for these international games. We are extremely grateful to our colleagues at the IRB for recognising the hard work that has gone into creating a Rugby venue in the north which is capable of hosting matches of this stature.”
“Our recent experience of hosting Wales U20 Six Nations home matches at Eirias proved there was a tremendous following for Rugby in this area. We are certain the rugby public of North Wales will fully support this initiative and give the visiting teams a great welcome.”
Eirias, Colwyn Bay, is the venue for all the action which kicks off on Friday, November 9 at 18:00 when Russia takes on USA. This will be followed by the match-up between Samoa and Canada. On Saturday, November 17, Tonga faces USA at 18:00 followed by Canada v Russia. Tickets for both days are available here. Prices start at just GBP11.