Italy and Georgia Test Matches Confirmed for Summer Match Schedule

The Japan Rugby Football Union is delighted to announce that Italy and Georgia will visit Japan this summer for one-off test matches against the Brave Blossoms. These fixtures are in addition to the already announced test matches the Brave Blossoms will play against England and New Zealand, and the two non-capped matches between the Japan XV and the Māori All Blacks.

The Brave Blossoms will start their season with a huge and historic test match against England in the Lipovitan D Challenge Cup on Saturday, 22 June at Tokyo’s National Stadium. This will be the first official test match played between the two nations in Japan. While England toured in 1971, 1979 and 2003, playing against Japan twice during each tour, the fixtures were not counted as official test matches.

The Japan XV will then play the Māori All Blacks in two non-capped matches on Saturday, 29 June at a venue to be announced, and again on Saturday, 6 July at Toyota Stadium in Aichi. Japan have faced the Māori All Blacks on three previous occasions, with the most recent encounters taking place during the visitor’s two-match tour of Japan in 2014. Prior to that, the two sides met for the first time in New Zealand, back in 2008.

The following weekend, on Saturday, 13 July the Brave Blossoms will host Georgia at Yurtec Stadium in Sendai, in the north of Japan’s main island. The test match will be the seventh between the two sides, with the Georgians no doubt looking to impose their dominant forward play and leverage their strong scrummaging game.

Northern Japan will also play host to the next match, with the Brave Blossoms facing Italy at Sapporo Dome in Hokkaido on Saturday, 13 July. Having fallen to Italy in Treviso in their Rugby World Cup 2023 warm-up match in August last year, Japan will be looking to record their third win in their tenth test match against the Italians.

Later in the year, in October, the Brave Blossoms will once again play host to the All Blacks in the Lipovitan D Challenge Cup 2024. Taking place at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama, the venue of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Final, the two sides will meet for the eighth time since their first encounter back in 1987. The Brave Blossoms will be looking to record their first ever win against the All Blacks after having pushed the three-time World Champions all the way in their last encounter in front of a packed National Stadium in 2022, eventually going down 31-38.

Commenting on the announcement, Brave Blossoms Head Coach, Eddie Jones said:
“To start the domestic season with Rugby World Cup semi-finalists England and to then finish against finalists New Zealand is a great honour and a massive opportunity for Japan to benchmark our level against teams we have never beaten before in our history. In between, the Japan XV will take on the mighty Māori All Blacks in what should be two entertaining matches and then we bring rugby to the north of Japan against the vibrant Italians and rapidly improving Georgians, giving us a full season.”

Commenting on the announcement, JRFU President, Masato Tsuchida said:
“We’re honoured to welcome Georgia and Italy to Japan this summer, in addition to England, and the All Blacks and Māori All Blacks from New Zealand, and to host these incredible matches in front of our home fans. I would like to thank the prefectural unions, local governments and regional organisations for their support and cooperation in the public bid process to bring these matches to their regions. We are blessed with wonderful host cities and stadia, and we are delighted to be able to work with local communities to prepare for these fixtures.

“We will make every effort to ensure that the Brave Blossoms, which are making a fresh start under new Head Coach Eddie Jones, will play in packed stadiums and that people from all over the country will be able to enjoy watching these matches. We look forward to your continued support and enthusiasm for the successful growth of Japanese rugby.”

Japan Rugby 2024 Match Schedule
Saturday 22 June
Lipovitan D Challenge Cup 2024 Japan vs England
National Stadium, Tokyo 

Saturday 29 June
Japan XV vs Māori All Blacks*
Venue TBC

Saturday 6 July
Japan XV vs Māori All Blacks*
Toyota Stadium, Toyota City

Saturday 13 July
Japan vs Georgia
Yurtek Stadium, Sendai

Sunday 21 July
Japan vs Italy
Sapporo Dome, Sapporo

Saturday 26 October
Lipovitan D Challenge Cup 2024 Japan vs All Blacks
Nissan Stadium, Yokohama

*Non-test Matches


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