THE home of Newcastle United will play host to an England Test match for the first time, the Rugby Football Union has confirmed.

Italy will face England at St James' Park on Friday, September 6 next year in preparation for the 2019 Rugby Union World Cup in Japan. The game will serve as one of four World Cup warm-up matches.

Eddie Jones' side will also play Wales twice, meeting on August 11 at Twickenham and six days later in Cardiff, and Ireland at Twickenham on August 24.

St James' Park has a capacity of 52,345 and hosted matches in the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup.

Last season's beaten Premiership semi-finalists Newcastle Falcons also played at the venue, beating 25-22 Northampton Saints back in March in front of 30,174.

It will be the first time since October 2015 that England have played a home Test away from Twickenham.

That was the 2015 World Cup dead rubber with Uruguay at the Etihad Stadium, when England were eliminated at the pool stage, prompting the departure of Stuart Lancaster as head coach and the appointment of Jones.

England have played home Tests at Old Trafford, Manchester, in 1997 against New Zealand and in 2009 against Argentina. Huddersfield has also been home to England games, when Italy and Holland were the opponents in 1998.

Jones said: "These Quilter Internationals will be extremely important to the squad's final preparations before we head out to Japan.

It is great news to be able to take England to another part of the country and Newcastle will be fantastic hosts like they were for the matches here in 2015. We will look forward to playing in front of a great northern crowd."