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All Blacks to play Japan


  • 12 Jul 2013

New Zealand will face Japan in Tokyo on 2 November as part of their end-of-year tour.

It will be the third official Test between the two sides after they met in the 1995 and 2011 World Cups. The All Blacks also played two matches in Japan in 1987 but they were not awarded Test status.

'The match fits in perfectly with our strategy for 2013 to not only grow our game but also to grow our leadership and depth within the All Blacks squad, and will give us the chance to give younger players further opportunities in the black jersey,' All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said.

Japan beat the USA and Canada in this year's Pacific Nations Cup, and an understrength Wales 23-8.

'The history of matches between the All Blacks and Japan hasn't been in our favour, but we have changed history once by beating Wales this year and we want to change history again when we play against the All Blacks,' Japan coach Eddie Jones said. 'Every player who gets the chance to play against the All Blacks must be preparing to win against them. It's not only a physical challenge, but also mentally we need to play a game that really makes the All Blacks think.'

The All Blacks will also play France, England and Ireland on their end-of-year tour.

Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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