Rugby World Cup chief hails Japan’s progress toward 2019

Rugby World Cup chief hails Japan’s progress toward 2019

Rugby World Cup chief hails Japan\'s progress toward 2019

TOKYO —

The head of the Rugby World Cup has hailed Japan’s preparations for hosting the next edition in 2019 as well as the groundswell of excitement about the sport, a report said on Wednesday.

“We’re very excited and pleased about the progress that is being made here in Japan,” Alan Gilpin told reporters, according to the Japan Times.

“In many respects, the preparation here is ahead of the preparation at the same stage of previous World Cups,” he added, during a visit to meet with Japan 2019 organisers.

Japanese organisers suffered a setback last year as the government pulled the plug on the original plan to build its new national stadium in Tokyo—which was set to host the tournament’s opening game and final—following spiralling costs and complaints over the design.

They were forced to name other stadiums, including Nissan Stadium in Yokohama, as replacement venues for what will be the first Rugby World Cup in Asia.

During the 2015 tournament in England, Japan’s Brave Blossoms upset the odds by posting three wins, including a stunning 34-32 victory over two-time champions South Africa in their opening game.

The performances sparked a wave of rugby fever in Japan, with fans in particular cheering fullback Ayumu Goromaru, who played a key role in the tournament and has joined the Queensland Reds.

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