The All Blacks perform a haka in Tokyo before a 2013 test against Japan. Stuff
All Blacks to play test in Japan in 2018
By Eric Njiru | Wed 17 May, 2017 08:50

The All Blacks will play a test in Japan in 2018 - for the first time in five years.

New Zealand Rugby confirmed the news on Wednesday with chief executive Steve Tew in Japan as part of a trade delegation led by Prime Minister Bill English.

The test will be played on November 3 with a venue to be confirmed later this year when locations for the 2019 Rugby World Cup are announced.

The All Blacks have not played in Japan since 2013 when they won 54-6 in Tokyo.

"Interest in rugby in Japan is on a high and will only build as we get closer to Rugby World Cup 2019," Tew said in a statement.

"The test will not only provide a great opportunity to prepare for the 2018 end of year tour, it also gives the team first-hand experience of playing in Japan less than a year out from the tournament.

"Playing in Japan is always a highlight. Their fans love the game and are great supporters of the All Blacks and New Zealand rugby." ?

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said the contest against the Brave Blossoms, who are coached by Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph, would be ideal preparation ahead of defending the William Webb Ellis Cup in Japan the following year.

"It'll give our team the chance to experience the unique environment and culture we will return to the following year. We look forward to being hosted by the Japanese," he said. 

The All Blacks beat Japan 74-0 and 106-4 in two tests in Japan in 1987 and also played the Wallabies in Tokyo in 2009.

New Zealand and Japan have played five test matches since 1987, including two Rugby World Cup games.

Interest in international rugby peaked in Japan in 2015 when Eddie Jones coached Japan to the greatest upset in Rugby World Cup history - a 34-32 win over two-time world champions South Africa.

Eric Njiru
[email protected] 0726205521
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