The NZRU have announced a test match that will be interesting and relevant to developing rugby in other nations and might actually be a heck of a lot of fun to watch:
The All Blacks will play Japan in Tokyo on Saturday 2 November, New Zealand Rugby and the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) have confirmed today.
The Test will be played at Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Stadium in Tokyo, Japan's national rugby stadium and home of the JRFU.
The All Blacks will fly to Japan to prepare for the Test match before heading onto Europe for the All Blacks annual Air New Zealand European Tour, for Test matches against France, England and Ireland.
Yes, there is a good chance we will win this game. But stop thinking about yourself here, think about Japan!
Japan, former winner of the Pacific Nations Cup, is hosting the next Rugby World Cup after (yawn) England has its turn... again. The last time New Zealand played Japan in Japan it wasn't even a test match.
The stadium is a bit on the small side and even has an office building at one end. I saw George Gregan's Suntory Super Goliaths play the Ricoh Black Rams (featuring Tamati Ellison) there in 2010. Back then the Goliaths were coached by Eddie Jones... he now coaches Japan.
"It is a great honour for Japan to play against the All Blacks, the current Rugby World Champions and the number one ranked team in the world.
"The history of matches between the All Blacks and Japan hasn't been in our favour, but we have changed history once by beating Wales this year and we want to change history again when we play against the All Blacks.
"Every player who gets the chance to play against the All Blacks must be preparing to win against them. It's not only a physical challenge, but also mentally we need to play a game that really makes the All Blacks think."
As a side note: I interviewed Eddie Jones back in 2010 and tipped him to be the next coach, about which I feel smug. I also think that he's a better coach for Japan than Kirwin (and I have lots of respect for JK).
Now all we have to do is sit back and watch our local media become the equivalent of a Krusty the Klown sketch.