In preparation for the 2009 Six Nations fixtures, which begin on 7 February and end on 21 March, Italy has scheduled three test matches in November. The first is against Australia in Padua on 8 November then in Turin against Argentina a week later, ending the tour against the Pacific Islands on 22 November in Parma.

In the three clashes Australia will probably prefer an expansive game plan, while Argentina, like Italy, is traditionally keener to mix it in the forwards, and the unknown qualities of the Pacific Islands will round off the three-test series.

The Australia team looks stronger than the last one to visit Italy two years ago, when the home team led the twice-world champions 15-13 at half-time before eventually falling to a 25-18 defeat in Rome.

Argentina, on the other hand, wants revenge for the defeat in Cordoba in June this summer.

In the Six Nations games next year Italy will play home matches against Ireland on 15 February, Wales on 14 March and France on 21 March. Matches are at Stadio Flaminio in Rome.