England add Wallabies to next year's diary

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The Independent Online

England have agreed to play the Wallabies in Australia next year in a one-off match for the Cook Cup.

England, who beat the Wallabies in their home country for the first time in June, are already scheduled to play New Zealand in two Tests.

John O'Neill, the Australian Rugby Union managing director, said: "We're going to play two Tests against Scotland and one against the English. The English will also play at least one mid-week game, possibly two." He added that dates and venues were yet to be decided, with the games likely to take place before the Tri-nations series with New Zealand and South Africa that normally starts in July.

O'Neill also said that Australia hoped to play a third match against New Zealand next year to ensure a definite winner of the Bledisloe Cup. The last time they met in a three-match series was in 1998. Since then they have played each other at home and away as part of the Tri-nations, but if the results are split the holders keep the trophy.

The France prop Pieter de Villiers has been ruled out of his country's World Cup warm-up games after dislocating his shoulder in a mountain-bike crash during a training session. The South African-born player crashed on the descent of a rocky mountain path, went over the handlebars and fell heavily on his right shoulder.

France play Romania in Lens a week today before matches against England in Marseille on 30 August and Twickenham the following Saturday.

Newly promoted Rotherham have added Titans to their name after signing a two-year sponsorship deal with local employers, Titan Environmental Limited.

Rotherham, who open their campaign at Gloucester on 13 September, are taking part in the Middlesex Sevens tomorrow, as well as meeting Edinburgh in a pre-season friendly at Millmoor on Sunday.