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Two matches in Japan this Friday and Saturday herald the start of the November Test tours, an important month for potential finalists in the 2019 Japan Rugby World Cup. Three of the favored contenders will meet during the month.
The first match October 26 will pit Japan against a Word XV featuring professional players from six countries, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, South Africa, Japan, and Tonga. These teams have played twice before with the World XV side victorious on both occasions. The first win came in 2015 45-20 in Tokyo, and the second in 2017 47-27 in Fukuoka.
15 Nehe Milner Skudder (Hurricanes), 14 Toni Pulu (Chiefs), 13 Harold Vorster (Lions/Panasonic), 12 Ma’a Nonu (Blues, New Zealand), 11 Tevita Li (Highlanders), 10 Lionel Cronje (Toyota), 9 Andrew Ellis (Kobe, captain), 8 Leonardo Senatore (Jaguares), 7 Dillon Hunt (Highlanders), 6 Jackson Hemopo (Highlanders), 5 Jason Jenkins (Bulls/Toyota), 4 Sam Carter (Brumbies), 3 Hencus van Wyk (Sunwolves/Sanix), 2 Adriaan Strauss (Bulls), 1 Craig Millar (Sunwolves/Panasonic)
Substitutes: Ricky Riccitelli (Hurricanes), Wyatt Crockett (Crusaders), Ben Alexander (Brumbies), Ben Gunter (Panasonic), Willie Britz (Sunwolves/NTT), Augustine Pulu (Hino/Blues), Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias (Jaguares), Keisuke Moriya (Panasonic), Nili Latu (Hino), Corne Fourie (Lions/Panasonic)
The game will be played in Hanazona Stadium, Osaka, with a 30,000 capacity.
On October 27, the All Blacks meet Australia in Nissan Stadium, Yokohama (72,000 seats). This is the third match of the 2018 Bledisole Cup, already won by New Zealand.
The November tour schedule for the All Blacks follows:
November 3 v. Japan in Tokyo
November 10 v. England in Twickenham
November 17 v. Ireland at the Aviva, Dublin
November 24 v. Italy at the Stadio Olimpico, Rome.
The England Test next week will mark the first match for these teams since November 2014 when the Kiwis won 24-21 at Twickenham. England have lost the past five Tests against the All Blacks. Both teams compiled 18-game win streaks from the 2015 Rugby World Cup onward.