Australia and Fiji might have the shortest distances to travel to compete at Rugby World Cup 2021, playing in 2022, but along with Japan they have already started their journey.

The Wallaroos will begin their RWC 2021 preparation in earnest on Friday when they take on Fiji, whose squad is based on the Super W-winning Fijiana Drua, at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

Next Tuesday Australia are back in action when Japan provide the opposition at Bond University on the Gold Coast.

Ahead of the matches we give you the lowdown on what to expect over the next few days.

What are the Wallaroos Road to New Zealand tests?

The Wallaroos Road to New Zealand tests are back-to-back matches against Japan and Fiji that will take place this month.

Australia will play the Fijiana in Brisbane on Friday before heading to the Gold Coast to take on the Sakura 15s on Tuesday.

The two matches form a key part of each nation’s preparations for RWC 2021, which kicks off at Auckland’s Eden Park on 8 October.

Have Australia played Fiji or Japan before?

Australia and Fiji have never met in an official test match. Australia A and the Fijiana both participated in the Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship 2019, in which the latter secured their qualification for RWC 2021, but they did not face each other.

The Wallaroos have played Japan three times, the first being the teams’ Pool C encounter at RWC 2017 in Dublin.

Samantha Treherne scored two of Australia’s five tries in a 29-15 win at Billings Park UCD, while current squad members Grace Hamilton and Mahalia Murphy also crossed the whitewash.

Australia hosted the Sakura 15s for a two-test series in July 2019, with the hosts winning both matches, 34-5 in Newcastle and 46-3 in Sydney.

Will Fiji and Japan play each other?

Fijiana met Japan at Bond University last Sunday, 1 May but were unable to build on their Super W success as they lost 28-14.

Brumbies centre Mana Furuta and Seina Saito were among the try-scorers for the Sakura 15s during an exciting match on the Gold Coast.

Japan, meanwhile, will take on an Australian Barbarians side in Brisbane this Friday in preparation for their latest meeting with the Wallaroos.

Will the teams play each other at RWC 2021?

The teams have been drawn in separate pools for RWC 2021. Australia are in Pool A alongside hosts New Zealand, Wales and Scotland.

Japan have been drawn in Pool B with Canada, Japan and Italy, while Fiji are in Pool C alongside England, France and South Africa.

Should the teams qualify for the quarter-finals, though, there is a chance they could play each other in the knockout rounds.

Will the Wallaroos play any more tests ahead of RWC 2021?

Yes, the matches against Fiji and Japan kick off a busy period for the Wallaroos.

Australia will travel to New Zealand next month to compete in the World Rugby Pacific Four Series 2022 against the hosts, Canada and the USA.

They will then take on the Black Ferns in back-to-back Laurie O’Reilly Cup matches in August.