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Japan to host RWC without neighbors

Kyodo

Hong Kong and Singapore will not host any of the matches at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Japan Rugby Football Union president Yoshiro Mori said on Tuesday.

Following an inspection tour by International Rugby Board chairman Bernard Lapasset, Mori said both Hong Kong and Singapore have informed the JRFU that they want no part in co-hosting Asia’s first Rugby World Cup with Japan.

There were plans for Hong Kong and Singapore to stage some of the games when Japan was initially awarded the hosting rights for 2019.

“Hong Kong and Singapore have told us they are withdrawing,” former Japanese Prime Minister Mori said. “Japan will host the tournament on its own.”

According to Lapasset, the JRFU has secured ¥3.6 billion in emergency funding toward the World Cup from the National Agency for the Advancement of Sports and Health, which operates the soccer lottery, toto.

Lapasset, in his first visit to Japan since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, was convinced by the country’s safety measures in place and offered Mori his vote of confidence.

“Some countries were saying the 2019 tournament should be held elsewhere, but I think we’ve managed to further our understanding with the IRB,” Mori said.

Despite Lapasset’s glowing reviews, the IRB has already decided to move five of the six matches from this summer’s Pacific Nations Cup out of Japan to Fiji.

Japan will only host the July 2 opener against Samoa at Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground. In Fiji, John Kirwan’s side will face Tonga at Suva on July 9 and the hosts at Lautoka on the 13th.

Japan and Tonga have been drawn in the same group for this year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.