All Blacks great Jeff Wilson believes Japan will use the upcoming test match against New Zealand as a benchmark to see where they stand.
Wilson told Brendan Telfer on RadioLIVE’s Saturday Sport that Saturday would be a chance for the ‘Brave Blossoms’ to build for next year’s World Cup.
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"They may not be able to beat the All Blacks, but come 12 months' time, they can get themselves somewhere they’ve never been before and that’s a quarter-final," he said.
"There's no doubt they’ve made good strides over the last 10 years, but I don’t think they're good enough to beat the All Blacks."
Wilson said although New Zealand were missing a lot of key players, it was still a very talented side.
"Japan can't afford to make mistakes, even against this team," he said. "Players like Jordie Barett, Waisake Naholo and Nehe MIlner-Skudder can go the length of the field off a turnover."
"The first 20 minutes are big for this test match, If Japan are chasing the game from the start, then I don’t see them being in it."
Wilson told Saturday Sport it was up to captain Michael Leitch to get Japan going.
"He knows, from playing Super Rugby with the Chiefs, what it takes to beat All Blacks," he says.
"It's his job to motivate the players around him."
Join us at 6:45pm Saturday for live updates of the All Blacks vs Japan rugby test in Tokyo