Sakura Fifteen Will Play New Zealand’s Black Ferns at Eden Park
Following the completion of the recent Taiyoseimei Japan Rugby Challenge Series 2022, the JRFU has confirmed the Sakura Fifteen will play the Black Ferns on Saturday, September 24 at Eden Park in Auckland, NZ.
All Eyes on RWC 2021
The RWC 2021 preparation match will be the first test between the two teams and will be played as part of a doubleheader of the second Bledisloe Cup test between the All Blacks and Wallabies, at the same venue.
Eden Park will host the Rugby World Cup 2021 Semi-Finals and Bronze Final, as well as the Final, on Saturday, November 12, with the Sakura Fifteen set to kick off their RWC campaign against Canada on Sunday, October 9 2022 in Whangarei.
Sakura Fifteen Head Coach Lesley McKenzie said about the match: “This test match is a tremendous opportunity for us, and the invitation from New Zealand is a testament to the progress the team has made since we first gathered in 2019. It will be a big moment for the Black Ferns as they prepare to kick off their home Rugby World Cup. They have been showing increasingly commanding performances and all eyes will be on them at Eden Park.
For the Sakura Fifteen, this is our opportunity to go deeper in our learning and progression as a team as we prepare for our first pool match in Whangarei. We’re looking forward to this opportunity to test ourselves against the world’s best, and we hope Japan will get behind us in this warm-up for Rugby World Cup.”
Sakura Fifteen 2022 Results
The Sakura Fifteen won two and lost of the matches versus South Africa and Ireland in the recent home Taiyoseimei Japan Rugby Challenge Series 2022, and earlier this year completed a successful undefeated tour in Australia in which they beat the Wallaroos, Fijiana and Barbarians side.
Coach McKenzie said recently after the home series: “When I started coaching the Sakura Fifteen, having just arrived from New Zealand, I was asked if I was going to model the team to play like the Black Ferns. On the contrary, I now think that people will aspire to play like Japan, like how we played against Ireland in the second test.
If we can be consistent with that level of performance, under that level of pressure, I would want us to play like Japan against the Black Ferns, and throughout our pool matches at the World Cup.”
2022 Spring Tour to Australia
- Fiji: May 1, 2022 (W) 14-28 Gold Coast
- Australian Barbarians: May 6, 2022 (W) 10-24 Brisbane (Non-test match)
- Australia: May 10, 2018 (W) 10-12 Gold Coast
2022 Domestic Series
- South Africa: July 24, 2022 (W) 15-6 Kamaishi
- South Africa: July 30, 2022 (L) 10-20 Kumagaya
- Ireland: August 20, 2022 (L) 22-57 Shizuoka
- Ireland: August 27, 2018 (W) 29-10 Tokyo
Black Ferns Director of Rugby Wayne Smith added “We saw Japan beat Australia earlier this year so know they are a team that is building so we are really grateful to have some strong opposition before we start World Cup. Playing our first Test against them, at Eden Park, will be a great occasion.”
- Black Ferns v Japan – Eden Park, Auckland, NZ – Saturday 24 September 2022 KO 4.30pm
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