Rugby Union: Ireland asked to cross Australia

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The Independent Online
IRELAND WILL play their two internationals against Australia in Brisbane and Perth next year, the Australian Rugby Union has said.

The Irish will play the Wallabies in Brisbane on 12 June, with the return Test on the other side of the continent in Perth a week later.

Ireland will begin their six-match tour against Victoria in Melbourne on 29 May followed by matches against the Super 12 sides, Australian Capital Territory in Canberra on 1 June, New South Wales in Sydney on 5 June, and Queensland in Brisbane on 8 June.

Australia and Ireland are drawn in the same pool for next year's World Cup and will meet at Lansdowne Road in Dublin on 10 October.

The Spain flanker, Jose Diaz, has been suspended for eight weeks after being sent off in his side's 21-17 World Cup qualifying victory over Portugal at Murrayfield in Wednesday.

Diaz was shown a yellow card after 25 minutes for preventing Portugal taking a quick penalty, and then received his marching orders for telling the English referee, Steve Lander, what he thought of the decision. The ban was imposed by the match commissioner, Terry Vaux, and rules Diaz out of tomorrow's meeting with Scotland at the national stadium.

Spain won through to next year's World Cup thanks to their narrow win over Portugal - but it was the Portuguese who scored the only tries of the match, through Thiery Teixeira and Rohan Hofman.

Allan Bateman is set to return for his club, Richmond, in their Anglo- Welsh friendly against Cardiff at the Madejski Stadium in Reading on 12 December.

Bateman is expected to make his first appearance for six and a half weeks after undergoing a shoulder operation which ruled him out of the Wales tests against South Africa and Argentina.

The 33-year-old Lions centre had played a seven times for the Allied Dunbar Premiership side before the long-standing injury which had dogged him for seven years flared up, causing him to miss three crucial club matches.

Bateman's return will be a boost for the Wales coach, Graham Henry, before this season's Five Nations' Championship but the former rugby league man will have a fight to reclaim his place in the side.

His replacement, the Swansea centre Mark Taylor, produced two impressive displays in the narrow defeat to South Africa and against the Argentina, when he scored a try.