Wales will put themselves through a testing month of warm-up games ahead of the 2019 World Cup as they play four games before heading out to Japan for next September’s tournament.
Warren Gatland’s men will face England and Ireland twice in the United Kingdom before leaving for the Far East, as well as going through two summer training camps, one of which will take place in hot conditions while the other will be at altitude.
It is a slight departure on the two World Cup campaigns that Wales have gone through under Gatland, with each previous tournament being entered on the back of three warm-up games, one of which was generally against perceived weaker opposition.
After going through the training camps, Wales will head to Twickenham for their first warm-up game against England on the 11th August, before the return game takes place a week later at the Principality Stadium.
They will then face Ireland after a two-week break on the 31st August, also in Cardiff, before travelling to Dublin and the Aviva Stadium for the return fixture the following week.
Wales will then kick-off their World Cup pool stage campaign against Georgia 16 days later in the city of Toyota.
Theories will abound about the reason why Warren Gatland and the Welsh Rugby Union have opted for such a tough run-up to the showpiece event, with financials likely to be high in the list of conspiracies.
There could also be the fact that the head coach will want to make sure he has his squad spot on with replacements the other side of the world, although the reason most likely to be used by the WRU is that it fits the plan of the year.
Autumn Internationals against Scotland, Australia, Tonga and South Africa will be used to improve skills, fitness and team cohesion, before the intensity is raised through the Six Nations and into the summer training camps and warm-ups.
It follows the lead of England and Scotland who are also playing four warm-up games, while Ireland will play three.
Wales World Cup warm-up fixtures
England v Wales – Saturday 11th August – Twickenham
Wales v England – Saturday 18th August – Principality Stadium
Wales v Ireland – Saturday 31st August – Principality Stadium
Ireland v Wales – Saturday 7th September – Aviva Stadium