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Brave Blossoms' focus on PNC, not National Stadium fracas

Kyodo

The Japan XV tried to stay focused on the Pacific Nations Cup amid the National Stadium controversy that has left the 2019 Rugby World Cup without a main stadium.

“We’re not thinking about 2019,” stand-in captain Ayumu Goromaru said on the eve of Saturday’s PNC opener against Canada.

“We’ve got 2015 first. It’s our first game in a while and I’m looking forward to it. The Super Rugby guys are back with us and we’re up for it.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday killed the ¥252 billion plan for the new National Stadium that was scheduled for completion by May 2019, in time for the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The stadium was set to host the opening match and final, but Abe said it will no longer be ready for the World Cup. A new design will be chosen this fall, with construction to start early next year and to be completed in the spring of 2020.

The largest stadium the World Cup will have now is International Stadium Yokohama with a capacity of 72,327. With the design that has been scrapped, the National Stadium was supposed to seat 80,000.

While the first Rugby World Cup to be held in Asia has been shaken up, Eddie Jones’ men are locked in on the present as they head into the final two months of preparation for England.

“I don’t care where we play, really,” hooker Shota Horie said. “Us players, it’s not like we felt that playing at the new National Stadium was a must.”