RWC 2019 makes mark in the Cloud
Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee celebrated the hosting of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan at ‘The Cloud’ in Auckland, New Zealand on Saturday, 22 October 2011.
The function was held in the business lounge within RWC 2011 Fan Zone at Queen’s Wharf in Auckland City, called ‘The Cloud’ and a total of 330 people participated, including guests such as IRB officials and managers, representatives of worldwide Rugby Unions, New Zealand government staff and international media from all over the world.
Mr. Bernard Lapasset, Chairman of the IRB, was the first speaker to address the function. “On behalf of Rugby World Cup Limited I am delighted to be with you this evening to preview Japan’s hosting of Rugby World Cup 2019.
“In eight years time, this wonderful tournament, one of the world’s largest and most prestigious sporting events, will be hosted in Asia for the first time.
“I am excited about the opportunity that we have…not just to deliver an exceptional Rugby World Cup, but to showcase our great sport to the world’s most populous region, its values and its premier event.
“The tournament is eight years away, but I am pleased to say that planning and preparation is advanced.
“We have developed a strong working relationship with the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee, full cross party government and business support has been secured, and President Fujio Mitarai and his Organising Committee are driving forward their vision.
“A vision of breaking new frontiers in Asia is a vision shared by the International Rugby Board.
“Rugby participation in Asia has grown by 18% since 2007, that is why we are investing over 150 million pounds in the Game between 2009 and 2012, in order that Rugby can capture the hearts and minds of more men, women and children around the world.
“Over the past six weeks JRFU officials, the Organising Committee, Japan Rugby 2019 and the Japanese government have been here in New Zealand, observing, and learning.
“Rugby World Cup 2011 has been one of the great Rugby World Cups and has provided the template for future hosts in how to engage a whole country through a nationwide festival, through embracing heritage and culture, through extending a warm welcome for teams and fans, through acting as proud and warm hosts and by getting behind all of the teams. It has been exceptional.
“This, I am sure, is something Japan Rugby will look to replicate and develop as they host RWC 2019 in a unique environment, a country with world class technology, big business support, facilities and infrastructure and of course a distinct and rich culture and heritage.
“I would like to thank Japan Rugby 2019 for hosting this event. I would also like to congratulate them for their dedication to delivering what will be a landmark event for world rugby and a Rugby World Cup that Japan and Asia will be proud of.”
Mr. Murray McCully, Foreign Minister of New Zealand Government, added, “Today, the connection between New Zealand and Japan is very strong. We would like to continue this great relationship, to pass the experiences and knowledge of RWC 2011 to Japan. The New Zealand government fully supports the hosting of RWC 2019 in Japan.”
Responsibility to promote rugby
Mr. Yoshiro Mori, President of Japan Rugby Football Union (Vice President of Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee) expressed the gratitude and decision of RWC 2019 to the participants.
“Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019 will be the first tournament in Asia and also outside of traditional rugby countries, so we have a big responsibility to promote rugby to make it a popular sport throughout the world and to become a global sport.
Mr. Yoshiro Mori, Japan Rugby Football Union President/Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee Vice President. Photo: Kenji Demura, RJP
“We are preparing in various areas such as strengthening the national team, creating an environment for 20 thousand elementary schools in Japan to play tag rugby by 2019, and to be able to improve the union to become an appropriate host union.
“The IRB Sevens World Series will be held in Tokyo next year. We will work hard to satisfy 16 teams that will be coming to Japan as preparation for hosting RWC in eight years.
“Also, currently there is a proposal of renovating our National Stadium for 2019 that will be a multipurpose sports facility, in case Tokyo wins the 2020 Summer Olympics.
“We are preparing to welcome rugby players and fans from around the world and we are looking forward to seeing everyone in 2019 in Japan”.
Distinguished Guests at the function: Mr. Lapasset, IRB Chairman; Mr. Murray McCully, NZ Foreign Minister; Mr. Mori, Former Prime Minister of Japan and the President of JRFU; Mr. Tsunekazu Takeda, Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee and Japan Olympic Committee Chairman; Mr. Toshiaki Endo, House of Representatives.
The distinguished guests gathered on stage for Kagami-biraki - a traditional sake barrel-breaking ceremony. One strike from their wooden mallets was enough to smash the lid and release the good fortune and a toast with wooden sake mugs that had Japan Rugby 2019 printed on them which doubled as a souvenir for participants to take home.
After this ceremony everyone enjoyed Japanese sake and food such as sushi and Japanese noodles.
During the function, networking deepened with exchange between participants and also an introduction of the Japan Rugby 2019 planning over the next eight years, which included the bidding for an Asian Women Sevens international tournament in Japan in the future.
At the end of the function, everyone finished with ‘ipponjime’, which is a Japanese custom of ceremonial rhythmic one time hand clapping, performed at the end of a special event - such as this celebration - to bring the occasion to a peaceful, lively close. All the participants became one toward the RWC 2019 tournament.