The All Blacks have added a Japanese-based training camp to their World Cup preparations as they pursue an unprecedented third successive world title.
According to a report from the New Zealand Herald, New Zealand Rugby has accepted an offer from Kashiwa City officials for the All Blacks to train in the city, which is 50km northeast of the Japanese capital Tokyo, midway through September.
The deal presents New Zealand with a chance to avoid a rusty start to the tournament, as happened against Argentina four years ago, when they were pressed for the entirety of the contest before eventually running out 26-16 winners at Wembley Stadium in London.
It is believed Kashiwa will pay the All Blacks in excess of $1 million to train and stay in the city for four days.
It is likely that commercial obligations will need to be upheld by Steve Hansen’s men as part of the offer, but it will provide the reigning back-to-back world champions a chance to acclimatise in Japan before their blockbuster World Cup opener against South Africa on September 21.
The All Blacks will travel to Kashiwa two days after their World Cup warm-up clash against Tonga in Hamilton on September 7, before transferring to Tokyo about a week before their Springboks fixture.
That winner of that encounter will likely top the group, with minnows Italy, Canada and Namibia the two side’s only other opponents in Pool B before the quarter-final stage of the competition.
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