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Wallabies and Brave Blossoms A-sides to square off in three-game series

By Sam Smith
Tim Anstee. (Photo by LEON LORD/AFP via Getty Images)

After first being reinstated for this year’s Pacific Nations Cup competition, the second-string Australia A team will now travel to Japan in October to take part in a three-match series with the Japan XV.

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The two teams will meet over three successive weekends, beginning on October 1 at Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium in Tokyo. They will then square off at Best Denki Stadium in Fukuouka and Yodoko Sakura Stadium in Osaka to round out Australia A’s tour.

“With Rugby World Cup 2023 fast approaching, this non-test match series, contested between the second national teams of both countries, will give Japan a chance to build greater depth across the national squad by giving emerging and fringe players the chance to experience high-level international rugby.

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The series kicks off on Saturday, October 1 at Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium in Tokyo, with the two sides meeting again the following Saturday, October 8, at Best Denki Stadium in Fukuoka. The series will conclude with the third and final match on Friday, October 14, at Yodoko Sakura Stadium in Osaka. Further match details, including kick off times, will be announced in due course.

Brave Blossoms director Yuichiro Fuji added:

“Now that we no longer participate in Super Rugby, these three matches against Australia A will be incredibly valuable in giving our younger players the experience of playing against top quality opposition, in conditions closely replicating the intensity of test match rugby. We can assess how they perform and handle the pressure and see which players might challenge for eventual selection for the Brave Blossoms.

“The series is also a great opportunity for our experienced test match players returning from injury as they work their way back into national team contention.

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“With our test team set to play this year against New Zealand, England and France, and the Japan XV playing three matches against Australia A, we now have a really solid match calendar for the remainder of 2022 as we progress into our final preparations for France next year.”

Australia A finished second on the ladder in this year’s Pacific Nations Cup after scoring wins over Tonga and Fiji but falling to Samoa. The tournament marked the first time that the Australian A side had participated in a match since 2008 (although various Australian XVs with differing selection policies had taken the field in the interim).

October’s three-match series will be the first time since that 2008 season – when the Brave Blossoms and Australia A both participated in the Pacific Nations Cup – that a Japanese representative side has taken on Australia A. Japan have yet to taste victory against the Australians.

Japan vs Australia A Past Results:

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June 5, 2003 (L) 5-63 Osaka

June 8, 2003 (L) 15-66 Tokyo

June 9, 2007 (L) 10-71 Townsville

June 8, 2008 (L) 21-42 Fukuoka

– with JRFU

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