Japan considering 2009 Bledisloe clash

Japan’s rugby association said Thursday they would consider a proposal to stage a Bledisloe Cup match between Australia and New Zealand in Japan in 2009.

Australian Rugby Union chief John O’Neill has been considering ideas to promote the sport in Asia and suggested holding the prestigious match in Japan.

“Mr. O’Neill has informally brought up the possibility of having Australia and New Zealand play in Japan. It was only an idea and nothing formal,” said a spokesman for the Japan Rugby Football Union.

“We will study it. It is at a very preliminary stage,” he said.

O’Neill visited Tokyo on Wednesday to meet with leaders of the rugby union to discuss cooperation, including exchanges of referees.

O’Neill said in media interviews that Japan could host a Bledisloe Cup rugby Test after Hong Kong hosts the prestigious event in November this year.

“It could happen as early as next year,” O’Neill told the Daily Yomiuri.

“It’s in the ‘to do’ basket.” The Bledisloe Cup — competed over by Australia and New Zealand — is one of rugby’s most famous trophies, with a history that dates back to the 1930s.

Japan, perennial minnows on the international rugby stage, narrowly lost the right to host the 2011 World Cup and now are campaigning to host the World Cup in 2015.

Sapa-AFP – Rugbyweek.com   

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