World Cup Qualifier: Ireland to play four warm-up games in South Africa

Scotland and Ireland will meet in Pretoria and Bulawayo before the World Cup Qualifier
Scotland and Ireland will meet in Pretoria and Bulawayo before the World Cup Qualifier

Ireland have confirmed four matches in South Africa as part of their preparation for the World Cup Qualifier tournament.

Ireland start their games in Pretoria against a Northerns/Easterns XI on 15 February.

Netherlands are next up on 18 February before Scotland two days later and then Hong Kong on 23 February.

Ireland will be chasing a fourth straight qualification success at the tournament in Zimbabwe.

The 15-man squad will spend two weeks based at a preparation camp at Tuks High Performance Centre at the University of Pretoria.

Ireland also have warm-up matches in Bulawayo against hosts Zimbabwe on 27 February and Scotland on 1 March before relocating to Harare for the main competition.

"We enjoyed an excellent tri-series in Dubai last week where we played four matches and it's great that we will have six more games before the tournament starts in earnest on 4 March," said Ireland coach Graham Ford.

"Between now and then there's a lot of hard work to be put in, but the squad have all bought into it. Everyone is aware of just what is at stake.

"With just two World Cup places on offer and so many dangerous sides, there is little margin of error. We will leave no stone unturned in our build-up, with the preparation camp a vital part of our plans."

Ireland's five-team group includes top seeds West Indies with the top three in each of the two groups progressing to a Super Six competition, from which two will go through to the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales.

Ireland World Cup Qualifier squad:

William Porterfield (Formby/Warriors, capt), Andrew Balbirnie (Pembroke/Lightning), Peter Chase (Malahide/Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster/Lightning), Ed Joyce (Merrion/Lightning), Andrew McBrine (Donemana/Warriors), Barry McCarthy (Durham), Tim Murtagh (Middlesex), Kevin O'Brien (Railway Union/Lightning), Niall O'Brien (Nantwich/Warriors, wk), Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire), James Shannon (Instonians/Knights), Simi Singh (YMCA/Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Gary Wilson (Derbyshire, wk).