- Review meetings central to managing and monitoring progress for Asia’s first Rugby World Cup
- World Rugby pleased with strong progress over the year
- Stage now set for one of the great Rugby World Cups
- Productive Team Managers’ Meeting demonstrates excellent operational progress
World Rugby believes preparations are on track to ensure a truly “special, successful and game-changing” Rugby World Cup 2019 following a week of highly-productive meetings in Tokyo.
Having completed the final set of tournament review meetings of 2018, Tournament Director Alan Gilpin praised the organising committee for strong progress achieved during the year.
The tournament has captured the imagination of the Japanese public and international rugby fans alike with 4.5 million tickets applied for during the programme of priority and general application phases in 2018.
With host city, match venue and team camp preparations on track, World Rugby has also urged Japan to convert the strong operational progress and deliver one of the great Rugby World Cups.
Gilpin said: “With 287 days to go, we are confident that the solid foundations are in place for a very special, successful and game-changing Rugby World Cup that has teams and fans at heart and delivers an unprecedented legacy for rugby in Asia.
“All aspects of delivery, from match and training venues to team and spectator services, are on track. We have also commended the organising committee on their commitment to balancing the budget, which they are on track to achieve.
“We have experienced exceptional ticketing demand in 2018 with more than half of the total number of available tickets sold ahead of the 19 January general sales phase and strong demand for official travel and hospitality and travel packages from all corners of the world.
“Significantly, this will be the most impactful Rugby World Cup with a record ¥216.6 billion set to be injected into the Japanese economy across the whole nation, driven by the visit of more than 400,000 international visitors over the six-week tournament.
“Japan 2019 will be transformational for the sport in Asia, and our Impact Beyond 2019 legacy programme, run in partnership with the Japan Rugby Football Union and Asia Rugby, is well on course to smash the target of attracting and retaining one million new players to the sport via the Asia 1 Million project.
“We are also proud of our association with ChildFund Pass It Back, and would like to thank fans who have been so generous in their donations when purchasing tickets. We are on track to raise a record sum that will help the programme transform the lives of more than 20,000 disadvantaged children across Asia.”
Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee CEO Akira Shimazu added: “With tournament preparations well on track and with such phenomenal demand for Rugby World Cup tickets, we are in strong shape as we head towards 2019.
“There is a palpable sense of excitement steadily building throughout Japan. Our 12 host cities are actively preparing to welcome visitors from across the world by highlighting their unique attractions and character to the more than 400,000 visiting fans expected. 2019 is sure to be both a remarkable and historic year for Japan and Rugby World Cup.”
The review ran alongside the 2018 Team Managers’ Meeting, which saw the team managers from all 20 participating teams gather in Tokyo to run through operational updates. It follows detailed team camp visits undertaken over the course of the year, strengthening ties between teams and hosting cities.
Gilpin added: “From player welfare to team camps, training and match venues, this is a tournament that will have teams at heart.
“No stone has been left unturned in pursuit of delivering an environment in which the teams can perform to their best on rugby’s biggest stage and the feedback received from the teams has been overwhelmingly positive.
“They are looking forward to playing their part in Asia’s first Rugby World Cup, engaging with local communities and helping inspire new participants and fans across Japan and wider Asia.”
With the eyes of the world on Japan over the next two years as it hosts RWC 2019 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the organising committee has also transitioned into testing and readiness exercises, with the first quarter of 2019 set to see all aspects of delivery meticulously tested.