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All Blacks to play Japan to boost World Cup interest

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 - 01:15

All Blacks to face Japan ahead of Rugby World Cup to help boost interest in the tournament

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SHOWS: TOKYO, JAPAN (MAY 17, 2017) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS 2. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER, BILL ENGLISH, SAYING: "This will be a fantastic opportunity for promotion of the World Cup here in Japan and a great curtain raiser for the World Cup contest itself." 3. JOURNALIST TYPING 4. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPAN RUGBY FOOTBALL UNION PRESIDENT, TADASHI OKAMURA, SAYING: "We intend to improve at rugby, but we also want to be seen as a challenging opponent by getting closer to the presence and popularity that the All Blacks have." 5. NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS 6. (FROM LEFT) OKAMURA, ENGLISH, AND CEO OF THE NEW ZEALAND RUGBY UNION, STEVE TEW, DURING NEWS CONFERENCE 7. NEW ZEALAND ALL BLACKS JERSEY 8. JAPAN BRAVE BLOSSOMS JERSEY 9. NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS STORY: New Zealand and Japan's national rugby teams will face off before the Rugby World Cup 2019 in a test match aimed at boosting interest in the tournament, New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English said on Wednesday (May 17) during his visit to Tokyo. The All Blacks, ranked the world's best rugby team as of Monday (May 15), will meet the Brave Blossoms at a yet-to-be-decided venue on Nov. 3 before heading to Europe for their end of season tour, the world champions said in a statement. The Brave Blossoms are 11th in world rankings. The two sides have met five times previously, although the first two games in Japan in 1987 were not accorded test status. Their first official test was at the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa where the All Blacks won 145-17. They also met in the 2011 tournament in New Zealand, where the All Blacks won 83-7, before they recorded a 54-6 victory in Tokyo in 2013. The Brave Blossoms have improved markedly since then and recorded the biggest upset in World Cup history when they beat two-times champions South Africa 34-32 in their opening match of the 2015 tournament in England.

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All Blacks to play Japan to boost World Cup interest

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 - 01:15