CREDIT: IMAGO/COLORSPORT / John Cowpland
The Māori All Blacks will play two matches against the Japan XV as part of the Lipovitan D Challenge Cup 2024.
The two matches will be played on Saturday, 29 June and Saturday, 6 July next year and will mark just the fourth time the Māori All Blacks have played in Japan, and first since a narrow 20-18 win over Japan in Tokyo in 2014.
Announcement of the fixtures follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the JRFU and New Zealand Rugby (NZR) in May this year and the recent announcement that the All Blacks will also visit Japan to play the Brave Blossoms in October 2024.
New Zealand Māori Rugby Board Chair Dame Farah Palmer said:
“It is great news to have these two international fixtures confirmed and it will be a special occasion for the Māori All Blacks to visit Japan again and to share our respective cultures and traditions next year. It’s exciting for Māori rugby to have two big international matches on the calendar following the thrilling home series against Ireland in 2022.”
The matches in Japan will be the Māori All Blacks first fixtures since splitting a two-match series against Ireland in Wellington and Hamilton last year.
New Zealand Rugby CEO, Mark Robinson said:
“It is great to announce the Māori All Blacks will be playing two matches in Japan next year, they are a team of huge importance to New Zealand Rugby. We look forward to continuing to grow and strengthen rugby in the Asia-Pacific region, while also sharing our culture and history through these two matches.”
Japan Rugby Football Union Chairman, Kensuke Iwabuchi said:
“Following our recent announcement that the Brave Blossoms will host the All Blacks next Autumn, and with the All Blacks XV currently in Japan, we are delighted to now announce next year’s tour by the Māori All Blacks. Playing such powerful teams consistently is a major component of our strategy to grow the competitiveness of our national teams. We extend our deep thanks to our partners at New Zealand Rugby for their commitment to support the growth of Japanese rugby.”
Further details, including match venues, kick-off times, ticketing information and broadcast schedules will be announced in due course.
Japan vs Māori All Blacks Past Results:
November 8, 2014 (W) 20-18 Tokyo
November 1, 2014 (W) 61-21 Hyogo
June 28, 2008 (W) 65-22 Napier