RWC 2019 planning gathers momentum
Planning and preparation for Japan's hosting of Rugby World Cup 2019 continues to gather pace with key planning meetings in Tokyo this week to lay the foundations for a successful event that will boost Rugby throughout Asia.
With a little over seven years to go until Rugby's showcase event breaks new ground by being the first Rugby World Cup to be hosted in Asia, representatives of the Japan Rugby 2019 organising body met with Rugby World Cup Limited Chairman Bernard Lapasset and RWCL management to review progress to date, implement learnings from an exceptional RWC 2011 and further the strategic and master plans that will underpin a successful tournament.
Discussions covered the key areas of increasing Rugby awareness throughout Japan and Asia, increasing participation and event hosting opportunities, marketing, broadcast and commercial strategies, venue planning and delivering a Rugby legacy for Japan and Asia as tournament preparations continue.
Considerable progress has already been made since Japan was awarded the tournament in 2009. Full cross party government support has been achieved, the JR 2019 organising body established with key appointments made and a nationwide awareness campaign is set to be launched to engage the people of Japan with Rugby.
Lapasset said: "Rugby World Cup 2019 may be over seven years away, but the foundations for the delivery of a successful tournament start in earnest now. A first Rugby World Cup in Asia comes with the opportunity to grow the Rugby family throughout the region, but such growth does not happen overnight."
"We are working in collaboration with the Japan Rugby Football Union and the Asian Rugby Football Union to build awareness of Rugby and the tournament and implement strategies to build on the solid platform that have delivered an 18 per cent increase in participation across the region since RWC 2007."
"These highly constructive meetings highlight strong partnership between the JRFU, JR 2019, RWCL, the IRB and the Japan Government and business sectors and the collective commitment to deliver an outstanding Rugby World Cup in 2019."
"The strategies implemented are geared towards successfully achieving Rugby growth in Asia, enhance the Rugby World Cup and Rugby brands, deliver the financial platform for the IRB to continue its significant investment in the delivery of the Game, an outstanding experience for fans and teams and ultimately an event that Japan will be proud of," added Lapasset.
RWCL Acting Managing Director Robert Brophy noted that operational planning is progressing well: "In February, Rugby World Cup Limited coordinated a RWC 2011 debrief in London, which was well attended by representatives of the RWC 2011, RWC 2015 and RWC 2019 organising bodies. It was a superb forum with clear outcomes and learnings and the benefits from that forum are being implemented by JR 2019 and are clearly evident to RWCL."
JRFU President Yoshiro Mori emphasized the importance of attendance of key representatives from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the National Agency for the Advancement of Sports and Health (NAASH) at the meeting, underscoring the strong support from the Japan Government.
"The JRFU and JR 2019 organising body are committed to the delivery of a successful Rugby World Cup in Japan. There are seven years to go, but planning is advancing well and we have a strong partnership with RWCL and the Japan Government through the MEXT and NAASH agencies to ensure that all the processes are in place to ensure a tournament that benefits the growth of Rugby in Japan and Asia."
The Tokyo meetings come six months after an outstanding Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand captured the hearts and minds of the global Rugby family. The showcase event proved to be a resounding sporting and operational success, setting the standard for future hosts to follow.
Played over 44 days in 12 venues and attracting more than 133,000 foreign visitors, Rugby World Cup 2011 was the largest event ever staged in New Zealand, delivering an estimated NZ$750 million to the New Zealand economy amongst a raft of hosting benefits, while the tournament achieved all ticketing and revenue targets. It is also estimated to generate a higher than anticipated surplus of at least £90 million, which will be used by the IRB for investment in the development of the world Game.