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England set for historic first Test match in Japan against the Brave Blossoms in 2024

A first Test match against Japan on their home soil is on the horizon for England in June next year; the two nations have faced off three times in Test matches, most recently last year at Twickenham; England toured Japan in 1971 and 1979, but those matches did not hold Test status

England v Japan - Autumn International - Twickenham Stadium
Japan's Kotaro Matsushima (left) is tackled England's Henry Slade during the Autumn International match at Twickenham Stadium, London. Picture date: Saturday November 12, 2022.
Image: England will face Japan on their home soil for the first time in 2024

England will head to Japan to play a Test match against the Brave Blossoms on their home soil for the first time next year.

The match will take place on Saturday, June 22, with the venue and kick-off time to be confirmed, and is a result of the Rugby Football Union and Japan Rugby Football Unions strengthening their relationship on the back of matches at Twickenham in 2018 and 2022.

England toured Japan in 1971 and 1979, although those matches did not hold Test status, and were due to undertake a two-Test tour in 2020 which was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We are delighted to announce England will play its first ever Test match against the Brave Blossoms in Japan," RFU CEO Bill Sweeney said. This is a landmark occasion for our two rugby nations.

"After hosting Japan twice at Twickenham Stadium in recent years, we're eager to continue building our strong relationship with the JRFU. We have a lot of respect for Japanese rugby, and I know there will be mutual excitement between fans from both countries for this fixture."

England's first official Test match against Japan came in the 1987 Rugby World Cup in Australia, when they triumphed 60-7. A 35-15 win at Twickenham in 2018 was followed by a 52-13 victory at the same venue last year.

The last time England visited Japan was for the World Cup in 2019, where they reached the final with victory over New Zealand in the last four in Yokohama before going down 32-12 to South Africa at the same venue.

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"We are delighted to welcome England to Japan next year for this historic test match and to have the opportunity to test ourselves against one of the world's best teams, Masato Tsuchida, JRFU President, said.

"The JRFU and Japanese rugby fans have great respect for English rugby and recognise England as the birthplace of our great sport.

"We fondly remember England's performances at the World Cup in 2019, especially their incredible semi-final victory in Yokohama. English fans made a fantastic contribution to the atmosphere of the tournament, making up the largest contingent of visiting international fans.

"They left a wonderfully positive impression on the Japanese public, and we look forward to welcoming the team and English fans back to Japan and renewing the great rugby connection between our two nations."

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