World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont believes that Japan 2019 will be “a very special and game-changing Rugby World Cup” as the one year to go milestone was marked with a series of celebrations across the host nation.
On 20 September, 2019, the world’s top 20 teams, supported by 1.8 million fans in-stadia and a global audience of hundreds of millions, will begin their quest to lift the most coveted trophy in rugby, the Webb Ellis Cup.
Since being awarded the hosting rights in 2009, the Japan Rugby 2019 organising committee in full partnership with World Rugby, the Japan Rugby Football Union and national and local government, has been focused on delivering a unique, once-in-a-lifetime tournament, Asia’s first Rugby World Cup.
And as the tournament reaches the year to go countdown, Beaumont, a member of the World Rugby Council that selected Japan as host nine years ago, is confident that the organisers are making good in their bid promises.
“World Rugby selected Japan as we believed in the tremendous opportunity to further the sport across Asia, and I am delighted to say that with a year to go, we are confident that Japan 2019 will be a very special, successful and game-changing Rugby World Cup.
“It will be the most impactful Rugby World Cup ever, attracting and retaining more than one million new rugby players in Asia, while changing the lives of tens of thousands of disadvantaged children in communities across Asia thanks to the generosity of fans supporting our transformational partnership with ChildFund Pass It Back.
“Japan 2019 will also benefit the whole of the nation from Sapporo in the north to Kumamoto in the south, delivering rugby and sports facilities for communities to enjoy, while pumping ¥216.6 billion added value into the economy.
“In keeping with a tournament that has rugby at heart, the team camp and match venue facilities are looking superb and everyone will receive an incredible welcome from engaged host cities and prefectures."
Japan is the place to be in 2019. So far, more than 2.5 million ticket applications have been received across the priority sales phases to date, while tickets went back on sale on Wednesday with the opening of the general application phase via www.tickets.rugbyworldcup.com.
And with more than 400,000 visitors set to travel to Japan for the six-week tournament, STH Japan, the official travel and hospitality provider, has revised-up its official supporter tour and hospitality programme estimates owing to exceptional domestic and global demand.
Converting the opportunity of the first Rugby World Cup hosted in Asia has been a major priority for World Rugby, Asia Rugby and the Japan Rugby Football Union and at the one year to go celebration event in Tokyo today, Beaumont announced that the Asia 1 Million project, a key pillar of the Impact Beyond 2019 legacy programme, is 90 per cent of the way to achieving its target of one million new players in Asia with 899,000 participants to date, while more than 1,900 schools across Japan have implemented tag rugby.
One year to go: Rugby World Cup 2019 by the numbers
First Rugby World Cup hosted in Asia
Six Worldwide Partners renewed in record time with record value
Ninth Rugby World Cup
12 host cities from Sapporo in the north to Kumamoto in the south
207 broadcast territories
3,000 media in attendance
20,000 disadvantaged children in Asia who will benefit from ChildFund Pass It Back support
400,000 international visitors
899,288 Impact Beyond Asia 1 Million Project participants to date
1.8 million attendance
2.5 million tickets applied for to date
14 million rugby fans in Japan
112 million rugby fans in Asia
¥216.6 billion added value to the Japanese economy
The draw for Rugby World Cup 2019 took place in Kyoto in May 2017 and the full match schedule can be viewed at www.rugbyworldcup.com/match-schedule. Hosts Japan will face Ireland, Scotland and Samoa alongside opening match opponents Russia in Pool A.
So far, 19 of the 20 participating teams have been confirmed with Canada, Germany, Hong Kong and Kenya set to compete for the final place via the repechage in Marseille in November 2018. The winner will join champions New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Namibia in Pool B.
Beaumont added: "Successful events are built on strong partnership and I would like to thank the Japan Rugby World Cup 2019 organising committee, the JRFU and national and local government for their dedication. However, there can be no sense of complacency and we have a big year ahead as we begin operational readiness testing and urge everyone to keep the strong momentum going."
Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Committee President and CEO Akira Shimazu added: “Rugby World Cup 2019 will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the people of Japan and for rugby fans from across the world. Hosting Asia’s first Rugby World Cup is a dream come true for millions of Japanese rugby fans and a wonderful opportunity to showcase Japan to the worldwide rugby community.
“As we mark one year to go ahead of this game-changing tournament, I am confident that the tremendous ambition, belief and effort invested in bringing Rugby World Cup to Asia is set to pay off. Not only with the successful staging of a truly memorable tournament, but with the delivery of a strong and lasting legacy in terms of substantial increases in player participation and huge growth in rugby support here in Japan and throughout Asia.”
With significant demand, fans are advised to check the availability status before applying during the general ticket phase, which runs through to 12 November and fans are also reminded that they can purchase official supporter tour and hospitality packages via www.rugbyworldcup.com/supportertours and www.rugbyworldcup.com/hospitality.
In order to have the best spectator experience possible, and not to be let down or misled, fans are urged to only buy Rugby World Cup 2019 match tickets, supporter tours, hospitality and merchandise from official sources and check out www.rugbyworldcup.com/buy-official for further details.