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Japan is gearing up for a thrilling year of rugby that’s packed with mouth-watering domestic and international fixtures. From historic test matches to innovative competitions, Japan is not only hosting but actively shaping international rugby dynamics.

 

International Tests

One of the major highlights of the year will be Japan’s “full season” of international tests, where the Brave Blossoms are scheduled to compete against a lineup of formidable foes including England, Italy, Georgia, and New Zealand. Each match is poised to offer unique challenges and opportunities. 

Notably, the test against England will be the first of its kind on Japanese soil, presenting a landmark moment for Japanese rugby. This match will be particularly significant as head coach Eddie Jones will face a team he has previously coached. This adds a personal narrative to the international rivalry​​.

 

Cross-Border Rugby 2024

Complementing the test matches, Cross-Border Rugby 2024 will debut. This will showcase top Japanese clubs from Rugby League One against New Zealand’s Super Rugby teams. Scheduled for early February, teams like Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath and Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights will face the Auckland Blues and Waikato Chiefs. 

This competition is not just a series of games but a cultural exchange and a test of strategy and skill, highlighting the ongoing relationship between Japanese and New Zealand rugby​​.

 

Pacific Nations Cup

Furthermore, a new-and-improved Pacific Nations Cup will also see Japan compete in 2024. This six-team annual competition features teams from Canada, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and the USA, alongside Japan. It aims to foster competitive rugby across the Pacific regions. 

The inclusion of Japan in this tournament is a strategic move by World Rugby to expand rugby’s reach and enhance the competitive landscape across these nations​​.

 

Land of the Rising Stars

These engagements are more than just games; they are a testament to Japan’s growing influence and strategic importance in the rugby world. Hosting these matches offers Japan a platform to benchmark its progress against some of the world’s best, while also providing invaluable experience and exposure to its players and fans alike.

 

The Road Ahead

As Japan continues to build on the momentum from hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the upcoming year promises to be a cornerstone in its rugby history, potentially setting new standards and expectations for its national and club teams on the international stage. 

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