All Blacks confirm Japan Test in 2018 ahead of Rugby World Cup

The All Blacks will return to Japan in 2018 as part of the team's build-up towards their bid for a third consecutive Rugby World Cup triumph.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Bill English made the announcement on Wednesday during an official visit to Japan.

The Test match -- which will be played on Nov. 3 -- will be the sixth time the two countries have met, with the last encounter coming in Tokyo in 2013.

The venue for the Test will be confirmed later this year when the locations for the World Cup are announced.

"Interest in rugby in Japan is on a high and will only build as we get closer to Rugby World Cup 2019," New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said.

"The Test will not only provide a great opportunity to prepare for the 2018 end of year tour, it also gives the team first-hand experience of playing in Japan less than a year out from the tournament."

Japanese Rugby President Tadashi Okamura said its a great pleasure to welcome the All Blacks back to Japan.

"Matches don't come much bigger than against the current World Champions, so in many ways it will be a curtain-raiser to the tournament in 2019."