• RWC 2019 holds five-day volunteer interview programme in Tokyo to join Team No-Side
  • Tokyo is the final event in a programme that has seen volunteer interviews held across all twelve RWC 2019 Host Cities since August 2018
  • RWC 2019 Volunteer Programme received over 38,000 applications for approximately 10,000 volunteer positions, with all 12 host cities significantly exceeding their volunteer targets
  • Volunteers selected following the interview process will take part in training programmes taking place across Japan from February to September 2019.

Excitement continues to build throughout Japan ahead of Rugby World Cup 2019 with another major milestone reached following the completion of the final Interview Roadshow for the RWC 2019 Volunteer Programme ‘Team No-Side’.

The programme to select volunteers for Tokyo ran from 14 to 18 December with thousands of participants involved over the five days. Tokyo is the last of the interview roadshow programme which started in August 2018 in Higashi Osaka and has now visited all twelve Host Cities across Japan.

“The energy, excitement and positive spirit shown by participants across all of the Host Cities has been incredible,” commented Deborah Jones, Deputy Director of Tournament Workforce, Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Committee.

“To see the transformation of people from when they first arrive for the interview sessions, until when they leave is truly wonderful. We conduct a lot of fun and interactive group activities that encourage communication and team work to demonstrate the type of engagement and interaction we want to see between our volunteers and rugby fans next year. As a result of these sessions, we’ve seen many occasions of people meeting for the first time, sharing contact details, connecting on social media and establishing new friendships. This is another great side of Rugby’s Team No-Side spirit and it’s an absolute delight to see it in action.”

Over 38,000 people across Japan applied for the approximately 10,000 available volunteer positions, with each of the 12 host cities exceeding their targeted number of applications. This represents a record as the largest number of volunteer applications
and the largest volunteer workforce for any Rugby World Cup.

“We have reached another great milestone in our preparations for Rugby World Cup 2019 with the completion of our volunteer interviews in Tokyo,” commented Akira Shimazu Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Committee CEO.

“The response we received for our ‘Team No-Side’ volunteer programme has been simply incredible in terms of the 38,000 applications. The enthusiasm and passion shown by those who have gone through to the interview stages has been really encouraging. Our volunteers will be superb ambassadors for both rugby and Japan, welcoming domestic and international fans to this once in a lifetime Rugby World Cup. I extend my sincerest gratitude to all of them.”

While being uniquely Japanese, the story behind the name ‘Team No Side’ is drawn from the early history of the game and is something that will resonate with rugby fans and players around the world. In the very early days of rugby, to signify the end of the match the referee would call “No Side” to indicate that no side had the next possession of the ball. The concept of No-Side developed in Japanese rugby to encapsulate the mutual respect, camaraderie and friendship between all players and fans.

Rugby World Cup Tournament Director Alan Gilpin said: said: “Volunteers are at the heart of any Rugby World Cup and determine the welcome, atmosphere and experience of the tournament for all fans. Japan’s hospitality is unparalleled and the amazing
response to the invitation to be a part of Team No Side, the official volunteer programme, reinforces our belief that Japan 2019 will be a very special and successful Rugby World Cup.”

Rugby World Cup 2019 will be the first time the tournament will be held in Asia. Over 400,000 foreign visitors are anticipated to travel to Japan to be a part of this once in a lifetime event.

With 48 matches played across 12 host cities stretching from the northern island of Hokkaido, to the southern island of Kyushu, visiting fans will get to experience the amazing regional diversity Japan has to offer while being a part of the world’s premier rugby tournament.

Demand for tickets across the 2018 ballot phases was extraordinary with 4.5 million ticket applications. The next opportunity to purchase tickets begins at 10:00 (Japan Standard Time) on 19 January 2019 when first-come-first-served general ticket sales begin. With extremely limited availability for matches involving Japan, New Zealand, Ireland, England and the knockout phases, fans are encouraged to use the ticket availability indicator on the ticketing website to give themselves the best opportunity to secure Rugby World Cup 2019 tickets.

Fans are also reminded to check out the Official Supporter Tour and Hospitality programmes, which have also been experiencing significant demand with unprecedented demand for ticket-inclusive travel packages experienced by official travel agents and significant hospitality interest with the prestigious Webb Ellis Suite and private suites already sold out. Further details can be found via www.rugbyworldcup.com/supportertours and www.rugbyworldcup.com/hospitality.

When purchasing tickets, fans will be able to opt-in and donate to the ChildFund Pass It Back programme. In partnership with World Rugby’s Impact Beyond programme, Pass It Back inspires positive social change through the delivery of an integrated life-skills
and non-contact tag rugby curriculum, educating children and young people in areas of leadership, problem-solving, gender equality, conflict resolution and life preparation. For more details visit www.childfundpassitback.org.

With such exceptional demand for tickets, fans are being urged to buy exclusively from official channels to avoid being let down. For more details visit www.rugbyworldcup.com/buy-official.