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England line up pre-World Cup Tests

England will warm up for the 2011 Rugby World Cup with back-to-back Tests against Wales and a showdown against Ireland at the new Lansdowne Road.

The Aviva Stadium fixture is scheduled for August 27, just two weeks before England open their World Cup campaign against Argentina in Christchurch.

"It is going to be tight but with Argentina as the first game (of the World Cup) we felt we needed a game two weeks before, not three weeks before," said England manager Martin Johnson.

The fixtures against Wales are on August 6 and August 13 - one in Cardiff and one at Twickenham - before the squad enjoy a rare weekend off.

England launched their punishing 13-month build-up to the tournament this week with a pre-season training camp at Twickenham.

Johnson's men will tackle New Zealand, Australia, Samoa and South Africa in November before heading into the RBS 6 Nations and then those three summer Tests - all on top of a hectic club programme.

"There won't be much pause for breath between now and then. This time next year we will be playing warm-up games for the tournament," he added.

But Johnson insisted his squad will not suffer from the fatigue which Fabio Capello partly blamed for England's disappointing football World Cup performance in South Africa.

"We don't go on tour next summer so we get a rest at the end of the season," he said. "The guys in the EPS (elite player squad) get their breaks as in the agreement. There are seven Saturdays during the season they won't be playing.

"We also have the ability to make sure they don't play if we don't think they are fit. It has worked pretty well and if you look at the number of games the guys have played not many have been 30-plus over the last two years. Our guys work incredibly hard making sure they stay fit."

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