Japan to Host Bledisloe for Second Time
On 31 January 2018, the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) announced that Japan would host the third leg of the Bledisloe Cup in 2018 when Australia and New Zealand face off at the Nissan Stadium in Yokohama on Saturday, 27 October 2018.
This will mark the second occasion for Japan to play host to the Bledisloe Cup after the Wallabies and the All Blacks did battle at the National Stadium in Tokyo in the autumn of 2009.
At the announcement, JRFU President Tadashi Okamura said, “It gives us with 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 of the tournament’s Final, the Nissan Stadium in Yokohama, Japan. We certainly look forward to the two teams, which have been leading the world rugby all the time, moving their stage into Japan and showcasing another fierce great battle. At the same time, we also are in great hopes that this match will add momentum toward the Rugby World Cup 2019. New Zealand is ranked in the top of the world ranking and had won the Rugby World Cup three times with the recent two in a row, while Australia is a two-time World Champion in the past. I hope many people will come to the stadium to witness this match and enjoy the encounter which will be played at the same altitude as the Rugby World Cup to be held in Japan next year.”
Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle noted, “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.
“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.”
NZR CEO Steve Tew said, “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. 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.”
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen commented, “It will be great for the team to prepare in two of the Rugby World Cup cities and play at the same venues. As well as preparing for a huge Bledisloe Cup Test and another important Test against Japan, it’ll also give the team a chance to have a really good ‘dummy run’ of the facilities, and experience the unique Japanese culture. We look forward to again being hosted by the Japanese later in the year.”
After the Bledisloe Cup, New Zealand stay in Japan to play Japan at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo on Saturday, 3 November 2018.
Ticketing information of the autumn tests will be announced around July or August.