• Kyodo


Japan will play the two-time defending Rugby World Cup champions All Blacks in a November test match next year, the two unions announced jointly on Wednesday.

The announcement was made with New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English in attendance. English had said he is keen for the All Blacks to play in Japan before the 2019 World Cup, according to Radio New Zealand.

The game, the sixth time the nations will meet, will be held Nov. 3 at a venue yet to be named. The trip to Japan will be New Zealand’s first since 2013, when the visitors won 54-6 — the closest the matchup has ever been in the five times the two teams have met.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen had said at last week’s World Cup draw in Kyoto that a match against Japan “wouldn’t be a bad idea.”

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