England’s rugby team will take on Italy today at St James’ Park – and to add to the excitement and anticipation, there’ll be plenty of family fun in Newcastle city centre.

Newcastle City Council has created two fan zones – at Strawberry Place and St James Park Metro – that will see fans entertained with music, live bands and even some disgraceful displays of dad dancing.

The fan zones will open at 2.00 pm today (Friday, 6th September). The entertainment will continue right up till kick-off time. After the game, the party will resume and keep going into the night.

There will be a stage hosted by Metro Radio, a live gig by the Shake Down Band, giveaways, and dad dancing contests.

There’ll be a chance to take part in some touch rugby and stalls to browse selling official England merchandise and tasty food and drink.

Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for employment and investment, Cllr Ged Bell, said, “We are looking forward to welcoming fans from across the country for this historic match at St James’ Park and providing them with a brilliant, memorable experience.”

“We are gaining a fantastic reputation as a city that can deliver world-class events and provide an incredible atmosphere for visiting fans from across the globe.”

“The fan villages around St James’ Park will be an opportunity for fans, families and residents to soak up the pre-match atmosphere and experience international rugby in Newcastle at the start of a fantastic weekend of sport across the city.”

Today will be the first time that the England rugby team have played in Newcastle. It will be a rare opportunity for fans to watch the national side away from their usual home at Twickenham.

A crowd of over 50,000 is expected to attend the match. It will be England’s last game before they travel to Japan for the Rugby World Cup 2019.

The rugby test match is just the start of an incredible weekend of sport in Newcastle. On Sunday, over 55,000 runners will compete in the 39th Great North Run. In addition, the Tour of Britain will finish in Newcastle city centre on Monday.

(This article’s featured image shows England playing against Italy.)

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