Rugby

Brave Blossoms to host Wales in June test

Kyodo

The Brave Blossoms, who reached the quarterfinals of last year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan, will play host to Wales on June 27, both nation’s rugby unions announced Friday.

Wales is eager to continue its engagement with Japan after reaching the semifinals last year and becoming involved with development programs during their stay here.

The Japan Rugby Football Union has announced the test will be played at Ecopa Stadium in Shizuoka Prefecture. The Brave Blossoms will then face World Cup runner-up England on July 4 and July 11.

“Going back to Japan for Wales will be a really big fixture on the back of a really successful RWC for Japan as hosts both on and off the field,” head coach Wayne Pivac said on the Welsh Rugby Union website.

“The squad and WRU made a huge impression on the country in the lead up to and during the RWC and attracted a lot of local support so it will be great to take the squad back to Japan for the first summer test.”

In the years leading up to the World Cup, the WRU began running clinics in Kitakyushu, its pre-tournament training base. As the tournament approached the city became Wales’ home away from home and 15,000 attended an open training session at Mikuni World Stadium.

After its Japan encore, Wales will travel to New Zealand for tests on July 4 and 11 against the All Blacks.

“The summer tests will be an important period for us as a squad, marking the end of the 2019-20 season and a great opportunity to take on both Japan and New Zealand,” Pivac said.