Japan to host All Blacks next year

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Japan will take on World Cup holders New Zealand in a one-off home Test in November next year, Japanese rugby officials said Wednesday.

The match will be played on November 3, 2018 and will be the first time the Brave Blossoms have face the All Blacks since 2013, when they were thumped 54-6 in Tokyo.

Japan will host the World Cup a year later when they will share the same pool as Ireland, Scotland and the third European team to qualify for Pool A, likely to be Romania.

The Asian champions shed their erstwhile tag as World Cup whipping boys at the 2015 tournament, where they recorded three victories under current England boss Eddie Jones, including a stunning 34-32 win over two-time champions South Africa.

Japan coach Jamie Joseph said at last week’s World Cup draw in Kyoto that he “felt like a small sardine amongst a bunch of tuna” alongside the likes of Jones and Steve Hansen, the All Blacks coach.

Hansen said the three-time world champions would look to play games in Japan as part of their build-up to the 2019 competition, the first to take place in Asia.

The All Blacks have won all five of their previous meetings against Japan, most famously a record 145-17 mauling at the 1995 World Cup. – Agence France-Presse

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