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Third 2018 Bledisloe Cup match confirmed for Japan

It's been confirmed the third Bledisloe Cup match between New Zealand and Australia this year will be played in Japan in October.

The Japan Rugby Football Union and New Zealand Rugby confirmed in a joint statement this evening that the match will be played at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama on Saturday October 27.

It'll be the second Bledisloe Cup match to be played in Japan. The two teams played at the National Stadium in Tokyo in 2009.

Both the Bledisloe Cup match and the All Blacks Test against Japan the following weekend, Saturday November 3, at Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo, will be played at key Rugby World Cup 2019 venues. 

The All Blacks play their opening tournament match against South Africa in Yokohama - which is also the venue for the semifinals and final - and their match against Africa 1 in Tokyo.

Yokohama hosted the football World Cup final in 2002.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, who is in Japan on a RWC2019 planning visit, said the All Blacks' two Tests in Japan would give the team ideal preparation ahead of next year's tournament.

"It will be great for the team to prepare in two of the Rugby World Cup cities and play at the same venues," Hansen said.  

"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," he said.

The first Bledisloe Cup Test, and opening Rugby Championship Test, will be played in Sydney on August 18, with the return match a week later at Eden Park on Saturday August 25.