Maori test for Brave Blossoms

Mon, 07 Jul 2014 09:22
We will treat them as Test matches

Japan's record 10-game winning streak will be given a stern test when the Asian champions face the Maori All Blacks in two matches this November.

The "Brave Blossoms", who last month beat Italy 26-23, face the Maoris on November 1 in the western city of Kobe and again in Tokyo on November 8.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for us to play against a team that probably ranks sixth or seventh in the world on ability," said Japan coach Eddie Jones.

"We will treat them as Test matches. They have a winning record of 90 percent over the last 20 games so it's fantastic preparation for the World Cup."

Japan, who will hold a training camp from July 14-18, broke into the world's top 10 for the first time following their win over Italy, but Jones has his sights on arresting their poor World Cup record.

The Japanese are drawn in Pool B at the World Cup in England, alongside South Africa, Scotland, Samoa and the United States.

They disappointed at the 2011 tournament under former All Black John Kirwan, beaten by hosts New Zealand, France and Tonga before drawing with Canada.

Japan's solitary World Cup win to date came against lowly Zimbabwe in 1991.