New Zealand confirms Japan Bledisloe

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The third Bledisloe Test this year will be played at the 2019 Rugby World Cup final venue, New Zealand Rugby confirmed on Wednesday.

A decision to the move the final Test has been an open secret in recent months, with the Kiwis opting to give up home ground advantage.

It's not the first time a Bledisloe has been played outside of Australia or New Zealand, with a Test in Hong Kong in 2010 and in Tokyo in 2009.

Both of those, though, were played as an extra fourth Test in the series, rather than as part of the usual three Tests.

This match will be played at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama, just outside of Tokyo, where the Wallabies took on Japan in last year's Spring Tour.

Perfect conditions for rugby in Yokohama. Photo: Getty ImagesNZRU CEO Steve Tew said the match would be critical preparation for the World Cup, to be played in September and October 2019.

"We’re delighted to confirm that a Bledisloe Cup Test match will be played in Japan for the second time in the history of this great rivalry," he said.

"The last match in 2009 was a fantastic event but this year’s Test at the 72,000-seat stadium in Yokohama will be at another level.

"The All Blacks have huge support in Japan so the Bledisloe Cup Test will be important for the team as we build support ahead of Rugby World Cup 2019."

Rugby AU CEO Raelene Castle said the match would be valuable preparation for the Wallabies ahead of the 2019 tournament.

 “We are looking forward to returning to Japan in October for what will be an incredible event, with one of the greatest rivalries in our game being fought out a year before the same venue hosts the Rugby World Cup Final," he said. 

“The Bledisloe Cup clash at Yokohama offers a great opportunity for the Wallabies to play a major Test on Japanese soil in the lead up to the Rugby World Cup and will build the excitement in the host nation ahead of the showpiece event next September.”

JRFU president Tadashi Okamura said it would be a good trial run for Japan as well.

“It gives us great pleasure to host the Bledisloe Cup, a long-established and classic rugby match, for the second time in this country, in the year before the Rugby World Cup 2019, at the same venue as the tournament’s Final," he said.

“We certainly look forward to two of the world rugby’s leading teams moving their stage into Japan and showcasing another fierce, great battle. At the same time, it’s our great hope that this match will build momentum towards Rugby World Cup 2019."

New Zealand will spend two weeks in Japan, playing a Test against the Brave Blossoms in Tokyo a week later.


Wallabies 2018 Fixtures

Australia-Ireland  2018 Series

Saturday June 9 - Australia vs Ireland Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Saturday June 16 - Australia vs Ireland, AAMI Park, Melbourne

Saturday June 23 - Australia vs Ireland, Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Rugby Championship

Saturday August 18 - Australia vs New Zealand, ANZ Stadium, Sydney

Saturday August 25 – New Zealand vs Australia, Eden Park, Auckland

Saturday September 8 – Australia vs South Africa, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Saturday September 15 – Australia vs Argentina, Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast

Saturday September 29 - South Africa vs Australia, Port Elizabeth

Saturday October 6 - Argentina vs Australia, TBC

Saturday October 27, New Zealand vs Australia, Nissan Stadium, Yokohama

Spring Tour

(full fixture TBC)

Saturday November 24 – England vs Australia – Twickenham, London