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Wallabies to take on All Blacks in Tokyo

30/06/2009 04:18:21 PM Comments (0)

The Wallabies' extra match against the All Blacks in Tokyo this year is likely to be the last time a fourth Bledisloe Cup game is played before the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The ARU confirmed on Tuesday that Australia will take on New Zealand on October 31 in the fourth match of the annual series at Japan's 57,000-seat National Stadium.

But as focus shifts towards the World Cup and national sides face an increasingly busy Test schedule, the traditional trans-Tasman clashes will be scaled back from four matches to a likely three in 2010.

It will be only the second Bledisloe Cup match staged on neutral soil, following last year's fixture in Hong Kong where the All Blacks beat the Wallabies 19-14.

The match will precede the Wallabies' European tour in November, when they take on England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales in their first grand slam attempt in 25 years.

ARU deputy chief executive Matt Carroll said taking another Bledisloe Cup Test to the bigger commercial markets in Asia was an exciting initiative for all involved.

"Playing in Tokyo is certainly in line with our strategic imperatives, announced at the start of 2008," Carroll said.

"As was outlined then, ARU is endeavouring to gain a share of valuable rugby economies outside Australia.

"The game in Japan receives significant university and corporate support.

"It is also an important step forward in terms of sporting relationships between our two countries."

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans welcomed the announcement.

"It is an opportunity for the rugby-loving public of Japan to see two of the best teams in action up close, while also having a rare opportunity to sample the great history which accompanies the Bledisloe Cup rivalry between Australia and New Zealand," Deans said.

"The scheduling of a game in Japan is an exciting proposition for the players which they are looking forward to."

New Zealand have held the Bledisloe Cup since 2003 and beat the Wallabies 3-1 in 2008.

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