The All Blacks XV will head north to square off with Japan in July, NZ Rugby has announced.
The team will face Jamie Joseph’s Brave Blossoms in Kumamoto on July 15, a week after squaring off with Japan XV at Tokyo’s historic Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium on July 8.
NZR general manager professional rugby and performance Chris Lendrum said the two matches would provide another valuable opportunity for the team to compete on a global stage against a quality international opponent.
Last November, the team travelled to Europe to take on Ireland A in Dublin, where they romped to a 47-19 victory.
A week later, they faced a Scott Robertson-coached Barbarians at London’s Twickenham Stadium, going down 35-31.
“The All Blacks XV is a crucial development pathway to the All Blacks, so locking in international matches of this calibre is crucial to the growth of our next tier of talent and also provides valuable international experience for a wider base of players in a Rugby World Cup year,” said Lendrum.
“We’re looking forward to the team heading to Japan and competing in what will be two competitive and high-quality matches.
“It will expose our group to a different playing style, and different life experiences, which can only benefit their development.”
More details – including the All Blacks XV coaching group – will be announced in due course, NZR adds.