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(Reuters) - New Zealand have made no secret of the fact they will use Saturday's match against Japan as a tune-up for more rigorous encounters in Europe but for the 'Brave Blossoms' the game is the ultimate litmus test of their rugby development.
TOKYO (Reuters) - For New Zealand, their comfortable win over Japan on Saturday will become a mere statistic in their fabled history, even if some will deride the All Blacks for not choosing stiffer competition to warm up for their European tour.
SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Melbourne Rebels made a little bit of Super Rugby history on Thursday when they named hooker Shota Horie and his fellow Japan international Male Sau in their matchday 23 for Friday's clash with the New South Wales Waratahs.
(Reuters) - Japan coach Eddie Jones will be without eight senior players for internationals against the Maori All Blacks, Georgia and Romania next month, but rather than cursing his luck he says it is "fantastic timing" with the 2015 World Cup looming.
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Factbox on Saturday's Super Rugby semi-final between New South Wales Waratahs (Australia) and Otago Highlanders (New Zealand):