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Published: 09:34 | 18/10/17

Ireland to play three Tests in Australia next June

Ireland will play three Tests against Australia Down Under next June.

Joe Schmidt's side, who have not played a Test in Australia since 2010, will face the Wallabies in Brisbane on 9 June, in Melbourne seven days later, and then in Sydney on 23 June.

Ireland and Australia played two-match series on their previous visits in 1979, 1994, 1999 and 2003, and one-off tests in 2008 and 2010, so the 2018 tour will be the first three-match series between the sides.

Ireland, fourth in the world rankings, beat the Aussies 27-24 at the Aviva Stadium in the last match between the sides in November 2016 to retain the Lansdowne Cup they won the year before in Dublin.

But Australia haven't lost to the Irish in Australia since 1979, and have won 21 of the 33 meetings between the sides [one draw].

The announcement was made by the Australian Rugby Union [ARU] during a visit to their Sydney headquarters by the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins.

"The rivalry between the two nations has grown enormously in recent years with some memorable encounters," Australian Rugby Union chief Bill Pulver said.

"With a huge number of Irish expats living in Australia, Ireland will enjoy strong support."

Irish Rugby Football Union chief executive Philip Browne also expects the 67,000 strong Irish community in Australia to come out in force.

"The Irish diaspora are renowned for supporting the Irish team when they visit their new homes so we know there will be a party atmosphere to match the world-class rugby," he said.

The second round of the European Rugby Champions Cup takes place this weekend, and you can watch the best of the action on BT Sport 2 on the eir Sport package. On Friday, 20 October, Pro 14 pacesetters Scarlets meet Premiership side Bath at Pairc y Scarlets on BT Sport 2 [kick off 7.45pm]. On Saturday, 21 October, Top 14 champions Clermont host Northampton [kick-off 3.15pm], while Saracens meet Ospreys later on Saturday evening [kick-off 7.45pm]. On Sunday, 22 October, Wasps face Harlequins in an all-Premiership fixture [kick off 7.45pm].

Image: Getty Images/ Dan Mullan

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