All Blacks to play Japan in 2018 to boost World Cup interest

The All Blacks perform a haka in Tokyo before a 2013 test against Japan

Toru Hanai The All Blacks perform a haka in Tokyo before a 2013 test against Japan

If Gregor Townsend, the head coach, and his men could produce a first win at the home of English rugby for 36 years, it would be a brilliant send-off to the global tournament in Japan.

The All Blacks will get their wish of a pre-World Cup hitout in Japan after a November 2018 Test against the Brave Blossoms was confirmed by the New Zealand rugby union on Wednesday.

The All Blacks have announced they will play Japan in a one-off Test ahead of their 2018 European tour as part of their preparations for the following year's Rugby World Cup.

An announcement could be made as early as today.

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

Tew told political editor Barry Soper that they won't see the match as a foregone conclusion given the Japanese beat South Africa in the last Cup. "Their fans love the game and are great supporters of the All Blacks and New Zealand rugby".

"It'll give our team the chance to experience the unique environment and culture we will return to the following year", Hansen said.

Ireland have been drawn in Pool A with the World Cup hosts. "And with the Sunwolves ongoing progress in Super Rugby, we're confident of putting in a determined performance against the All Blacks".

"It will be a wonderful occasion for Japanese rugby to take on the All Blacks", Japan coach Jamie Joseph, who played for both teams, said.

"Obviously the weather, the heat and the humidity is something that we're going to plan for and we're going to do that", he said.

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