All Blacks to play Test in Japan before Rugby World Cup

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    The All Blacks will get their wish of a pre-World Cup hitout in Japan with confirmation of a November 2018 Test against the Brave Blossoms.

    The defending champions, looking for their third consecutive World Cup crown, will play Japan on November 3 next year before flying to Europe for their end-of-year tour.

    The venue is yet to be confirmed but is likely to be in Tokyo.

    New Zealand Rugby chief Steve Tew said the Test would give the All Blacks the perfect opportunity to acquaint themselves with Japanese conditions.

    It would also help the union prepare logistically for the Cup in 2019, and stoke local enthusiasm for the tournament.

    “Interest in rugby in Japan is on a high and will only build as we get closer to the Rugby World Cup,” Tew said.

    “Playing in Japan is always a highlight – their fans love the game, and are great supporters of the All Blacks.”

    New Zealand have played Japan in three Tests, the most recent being in Tokyo in 2013, when they triumphed 54-6.

    They also took on the Brave Blossoms, now coached by Jamie Joseph, in the 1995 and 2011 Rugby World Cup pool stages.

    A 2009 Bledisloe Cup Test against the Wallabies was also held in Tokyo.

    At last week’s 2019 World Cup draw in Kyoto, coach Steve Hansen spoke of his desire to play a Test in Japan before the tournament.

    He reiterated that desire on Wednesday, saying the match would be key for his side’s tilt at the Webb Ellis Cup.

    “It’ll give our team the chance to experience the unique environment and culture we will return to the following year,” Hansen said.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • Roar Guru

      May 17th 2017 @ 4:37pm
      The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 17th 2017 @ 4:37pm | ! Report

      Steve Hansen hinted about this right after the WC draw. Makes sense.
      Wallabies are going there this year. Pumas was there last year.

      I think Sanzaar should give Japan a special invitation to TRC 2019. World Cup years the TRC is shortened to a single round. Invite Japan, will only be one more game for everyone.
      I would not be sporting justice, but let Japan play all their games at home. Why? First of all I think all the other nations would love to go to Japan a WC year to get acclimated and extra preparation ahead of other nations. It would also be a greta marketing for the WC itself, having the big guns coming over playing real Tests at WC venues. With extra TV-money and shared gates between unions for the four extra Tests in Japan, it would probably be good business also. And that is extra much needed WC years, when the NZRU, SARU and ARU makes much less money compared to non world cup years.
      And Jamie Joseph’s Japan would get ideal warm up Test.

      • May 17th 2017 @ 10:05pm
        Londoner said | May 17th 2017 @ 10:05pm | ! Report

        This is a brilliant idea and makes sense.
        As Japan are in super rugby why not bring them into the RC?
        Particularly in the shortened format of 2019.
        Beyond that prehaps a 6 game format and the top 2 playing a final, could work so to not increase games total drastically.

        Japan offers alot of money in TV rights and are likely to improve given time and more involvement with the strong SH nations.

        • Roar Rookie

          May 18th 2017 @ 12:55pm
          Paul Cleland said | May 18th 2017 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

          What a great idea!. It also enhances Japan’s financial standing and reduces the voting power of South Africa who have the backing of their TV networks. That strong backing has had a lot to do with the unfair conference structure and the current state of the Super 18. Japan should be encouraged as they have shown they can play – WC 2015 Japan V South Africa, go you Blossoms!

      • May 18th 2017 @ 8:46pm
        ScottD said | May 18th 2017 @ 8:46pm | ! Report

        Good plan

    • May 18th 2017 @ 3:41pm
      Ryan said | May 18th 2017 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

      Absolute geniuses – get a feel for the place/pitch/stadia and rugby public. That’s why the World Champions are ahead of the curve.

      • Roar Guru

        May 18th 2017 @ 3:52pm
        jeznez said | May 18th 2017 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

        Yep – following on from the Argies visit last year and the Aussie one this year!

        • May 20th 2017 @ 7:21pm
          Ryan said | May 20th 2017 @ 7:21pm | ! Report

          You do realise they were there in 2013 too right?

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