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Wales announce pre-World Cup plans

Wales have announced details of their warm-up games and other preparations for next year's World Cup.

Warren Gatland's men are set to play a double-header against Ireland, with the matches taking place at the Millennium Stadium on August 8 and Aviva Stadium on August 29, before hosting Italy at the Cardiff venue on September 5.

They will also undergo intensive training camps in Switzerland, Qatar and Poland ahead of the World Cup, which begins in mid-September.

Head coach Gatland, who guided Wales to fourth at the 2011 competition, said: "We are delighted at our schedule for next year.

"We have home and away ties against Ireland as an extended squad and will face Italy with our final World Cup party.

"The training camps have been designed to push the limits of the squad and ensure we peak at the tournament.

"We were very pleased with the results of the 2011 preparation and this schedule not only uses what we learnt back then but builds upon it."

Gatland will announce an extended training squad in early June, with the players meeting at the National Centre of Excellence that month.

Their first camp will see them travel to Fiesch in Switzerland in early July and have a fortnight there living at high altitude whilst training at low altitude.

Later that month they will spend nine days in Doha, being pushed in extreme Qatar heat that can exceed 40 degrees. Altitude methods will also be used once again, the players sleeping in hypoxic chambers.

Then, after the first Ireland fixture, Gatland and his men will travel to north Wales for a training camp at Parc Eirias before returning for eight days to Spala in Poland, the venue for the bulk of their preparation for the 2011 World Cup.

His 31-man squad for the World Cup will subsequently be announced, following the second Ireland match, on August 31.

And after they face Italy, Gatland's group will continue their preparations at their home training base ahead of their first World Cup Pool A encounter against Uruguay in Cardiff on September 20.

During the pool stage - in which they also take on Australia, Fiji and tournament hosts England - Wales will continue to be based at the Vale Resort on the outskirts of Cardiff as well as at London Irish for their games at Twickenham.

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