World Rugby has undertaken its fifth official review of Rugby World Cup 2019 hosting preparations during a busy week of meetings in Tokyo.
The delegation, led by Head of Rugby World Cup and Tournament Director Alan Gilpin, recognised the strong progress achieved by the Japan 2019 organising committee in 2017, including across the key areas of marketing, venue preparation and budget.
It also reiterated the need to make every day count during 2018, a year that will be critical to determining the success of Asia’s first Rugby World Cup with phased ticket sales beginning in January.
With tournament preparations having accelerated during the year from foundation planning to operational delivery, key milestones have been successfully achieved:
- The announcement of a balanced match schedule that has teams and fans at heart
- The announcement of an attractive and accessible ticketing programme designed to engage a nation and welcome the world
- The launch of the IMPACT Beyond programme that is well on its way to inspiring one million new participants across Asia by the time the tournament kicks off
World Rugby also recognised progress by the Japan Rugby 2019 organising committee in delivering the revised roadmap for the team camp selection process, a critical area of tournament delivery.
Rugby World Cup 2019 will be the biggest event to be hosted in Japan for almost two decades and with 75 per cent of the population living within an hour of a match venue, 2018 will see the start of a major nationwide programme of host city engagement and other key activities:
- Ticket sales begin with team and stadium pack sales from 19 January (Japan Rugby family) and 27 January (global fans)
- Global Supporter Tour packages will go on sale via 21 Official Travel Agents from January
- The launch of the volunteer programme and application process
- Increased host city activation and operational testing programmes
Head of Rugby World Cup Alan Gilpin said: "We are well into what is the most important phase of the readiness programme. Strong progress has been made in a number of areas in 2017, but continued acceleration is key to ensuring that Rugby World Cup 2019 is successful in every way on a national, regional and global basis.
"With ticket sales beginning in early 2018 it is important that our friends at the Japan Rugby 2019 organising committee ignite excitement throughout the host cities, who will be central to inspiring people to be a part of a once-in-a-lifetime event that has fan-experience at its core."
Japan Rugby 2019 Chief Executive Akira Shimazu said: "This has been a significant year with several important tournament milestones successfully achieved, including the pool draw, match schedule and ticketing announcements. We could not have achieved this without strong collaboration with World Rugby.
"2018 will be another crucial year for us as we launch ticket sales in the domestic and international markets and begin the recruitment process for the volunteers who will be the welcoming face of the tournament for all. There is much to be done, but we look forward to ensuring that Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan is an outstanding success that has teams and fans at heart, delivering an exceptional experience for all."
Fans can register to create a ticketing account through the official ticketing website at www.rugbyworldcup.com/tickets.