Italy have added a test date with Japan to a summer test series which already includes encounters against Fiji and Samoa, the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) announced Thursday.
Italy, who began their Six Nations campaign last week with a 23-15 defeat to Wales in Cardiff, will face the ‘Brave Blossoms’ in Tokyo on June 21.
The announcement was made by the president of the Japanese Rugby Federation (JRFU), Tatsuzo Yabe, in Tokyo on Thursday.
“We’re happy to be welcoming Italy back to Japan after an eight-year absence,” said Yabe in a statement released by the FIR.
“It will be an opportunity for Japan to test themselves against a quality side which is currently engaged in one of rugby’s most prestigious tournaments, the Six Nations.
“For us, it’s also a great chance to help develop our squad ahead of the 2015 World Cup, and to create enthusiasm for the 2019 World Cup taking place in Japan.”
Former Brumbies and Wallabies coach Eddie Jones, who has been coach of Japan since 2012, said: “It will be a great honour to challenge Italy here in Japan.
“The Azzurri probably have the best scrum in Europe and probably the best No. 8 in Sergio Parisse. We can’t wait to pit our game against theirs.”
Japan have only ever won once in the World Cup, against Zimbabwe in 1991, although they have also scored famous wins against Scotland (28-24) in 1989 and, more recently, Wales (23-8), in 2013.
Italy’s Six Nations campaign continues on Sunday away to France.