A second series of Rugby Introduction Days, in partnership with Land Rover, Official Vehicle of Rugby World Cup 2019, will be held across Japan in November to capitalise on the huge nationwide excitement created by the Brave Blossoms' inspirational performances that have brought rugby mania to the country.
The Rugby Introduction Days will be run by the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) with support from Rugby World Cup 2019 Official Worldwide Partner Land Rover, and are being held across Japan for pre-schoolers, elementary school students and junior high school students following the conclusion of the Rugby World Cup on 2nd November.
The Rugby World Cup 2019 Impact Beyond legacy programme has already achieved 1.8 million new rugby participants in Asia, and the Rugby Introduction Days will help to ensure the programme has a long-lasting effect, giving opportunities to the next generation of rugby players beyond the Rugby World Cup.
The JRFU have collaborated with rugby clubs nationwide since 2018 in order to increase the number of new rugby participants. In April and May 2019, Land Rover ambassadors, including Japan star players Michael Leitch and Yu Tamura, participated in the first series of Rugby Introduction Days and inspired more than 8,000 children to try rugby through the national programme of festivals.
The programme will continue to spread the appeal and spirit of rugby throughout Japan after the Rugby World Cup. In collaboration with Land Rover, rugby balls will be distributed to more than 400 rugby schools nationwide, helping to ensure that as many schoolchildren as possible experience the thrill of playing rugby and learn about the character building values of the game.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The outstanding performances by Japan have lit up Rugby World Cup 2019 and we have seen rugby mania sweep the nation. While the excitement created by the Brave Blossoms has certainly been a highlight, the spirit and conduct of all 20 teams has won hearts and minds of the population across the country as local communities are getting into the spirit of the tournament.
“Creating a long term legacy for the acceleration of rugby’s development in Japan was a key driver in World Rugby’s decision to bring to the Rugby World Cup to the world’s most youthful and populous continent and initiatives such as the Rugby Introduction Days being hosted by the Japan Rugby Football Union in November and December will provide important opportunities to capture the enthusiasm and introduce new girls and boys, women and men to the joy of rugby and the unique character building values of our sport.
“Prior to the start of Japan 2019, our Impact Beyond legacy programme had already achieved over 1.8 million rugby participants in Asia, including more than 1 million in Japan and combined with the record breaking broadcast audiences we believe that Rugby World Cup 2019 will be the most impactful tournament in history and a game-changer for rugby in Asia.”
Shigetaka Mori, Chairman of Japan Rugby Football Union, said: “Rugby Introduction Day is one of the activities of 'Impact Beyond 2019', the core legacy programme for rugby in Japan, AND will be held at rugby schools throughout the country.”
“The purpose of Rugby Introduction Day is to allow as many children as possible to have a rugby ball and experience and learn about rugby. From April to May, we already enabled more than 8,000 children to experience rugby.
“Land Rover has supported our rugby development path as a partner of this experience, and distributing balls to rugby schools throughout the country.
“Through the excitement of rugby in Japan, including the success of the national team at Rugby World Cup 2019, we are steadily gaining the understanding and cooperation of everyone so that many children can fully understand the spirit of rugby. We will continue to promote various rugby programmes such as this Rugby Introduction Day in future.
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of our partners, such as Land Rover, and the nationwide rugby schools that have cooperated so far and ask them for their continued support for Japan Rugby.”
Magnus Hansson, Representative Director, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover Japan, said: “Land Rover has a 20-year heritage of supporting rugby around the world, especially at the grassroots level of the game. In addition to the Rugby Introduction Days, our Worldwide Partnership of Rugby World Cup 2019 has included the official Land Rover mascot programme which is enabling 96 children from Japan and around the world to be part of this historic tournament. As we launch the next phase of the rugby schools programme, we will be helping the JRFU to distribute hundreds of rugby balls to children across the country, hopefully helping to inspire many children from Japan to continue playing rugby after the tournament has ended.”