Rugby-Japan to host Uruguay ahead of France matches in July

(Reuters) - Japan will host Uruguay in two games in June before home matches against France the following month, the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) said in a statement on Wednesday.

The JRFU announced last month that the Brave Blossoms would face France for the first time since 2017, with the two matches for the Lipovitan D Challenge Cup to be held at Aichi's Toyota Stadium on July 2 and the National Stadium in Tokyo on July 9.

Uruguay have now been added to the team's schedule with tests set to take place at Tokyo's Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium on June 18 and Kitakyushu's Mikuni World Stadium on June 25.

"We are delighted to welcome Uruguay back to Japan for this historic test match series," JRFU President Shigetaka Mori said.

"The Uruguayan team are always a force in the Americas Rugby Championship and have qualified for their fifth Rugby World Cup next year in France.

"There is great respect for Uruguay among Japanese rugby fans following their heroic 30-27 victory over Fiji in Kamaishi during Rugby World Cup 2019."

Japan reached the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Cup on home soil but did not play in 2020 because of the COVID-19 outbreak, returning to action after 18 months against the British & Irish Lions in June 2021.

The team won only one of their six matches last year, against Portugal.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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