• AFP, Kyodo

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Japan has chosen against taking part in this autumn’s “Eight Nations” tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic, sources told AFP on Thursday.

The host of last year’s Rugby World Cup was set to join traditional Six Nations sides England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales, as well as fellow invitee Fiji, for the competition which is set to replace the cancelled November international tests.

The Brave Blossoms were to join France, Gregor Townsend’s Scotland as well as Franco Smith’s Italian side in a four-team group held between Nov. 14-Dec. 5.

With Japan heavily restricting the entry of foreign passport holders amid the pandemic, members of the Brave Blossoms coaching staff have been kept out of the country, making it difficult to hold a domestic camp in preparation for the tournament.

The JRFU will look at other activities for the national team later this year, including the possibility of a test match.

The Brave Blossoms have not played a test since their march to the quarterfinals of the World Cup on home soil last year.

They had scheduled summer tests with England and autumn tests against Scotland and Ireland, but all have been canceled due to the pandemic.

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