Italy, Scotland to play test match in Singapore
NEWS: Italy and Scotland will play a test match in Singapore June 10 as the city-state seeks to establish itself as a stopover for nations bound for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
The two Six Nations sides will make the stopover en route to Fiji and Australia for another series of matches, rugby officials said at a media conference Friday.
Scotland are currently ranked fifth in global rugby rankings, while Italy sit in 15th.
The two countries last met in the Six Nations in March, in which Scotland hammered Italy 29-0.
"Scotland are very keen to globalise the brand," said Dominic McKay, Chief Operating Officer of Scottish Rugby Union.
"An area where we are very interested in doing our partnerships is in Southeast Asia, so this lends to that."
McKay and Italian team manager Luigi Troiani said Singapore would be an ideal stop off point for the teams to shake off jetlag.
The Italians would look to test out Singapore as a potential base for preparations for the 2019 World Cup, which would mark the first time the quadrennial event is held in Asia, said Troiani.
The match adds on to the two existing events on Singapore's rugby calendar.
The city-state welcomes Sevens teams next weekend for the Singapore leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series.
Singapore's National Stadium is also the adopted second home of Super Rugby team Sunwolves of Japan.
However, Singapore rugby chief Low Teo Ping said the test match will be the icing on the cake in the rugby calendar, and that two more top national teams have been lined up to play in Singapore in December.
Low said the Italians and Scottish are not receiving appearance fees to play in Singapore.
"We are going to encourage a lot of World Cup teams going to Japan in 2019, you might as well get over your jetlag in Singapore... Between here and Japan, I don't think there are too many wonderful stadiums in which you can acclimatise and get over jetlag," Low said.