LONDON – Rugby World Cup 2019 will kick off in Tokyo on Sept. 20 and reach its conclusion in Yokohama on Nov. 2, it was announced Tuesday in London.
With just two games remaining in the 2015 tournament, attention is now turning to the next tournament, the first to be held in a Tier 2 rugby nation.
“We have been working together for a few years and we have finally arrived at the start of the journey,” said Head of Rugby World Cup Alan Gilpin.
“I have every confidence that not only as a result of our partnership with (local organizing committee) Japan 2019 but also the work done by the 12 host cities and prefectures that 2019 will be a celebration of rugby in the whole country.”
In addition to announcing the start and finish dates of the tournament, the logo for the competition was also unveiled.
Drawing heavily on Japan as the Land of the Rising Sun and incorporating the iconic image of Mount Fuji, the logo “symbolizes how the tournament will bring the people of Japan and rugby fans around the world together in a spirit of solidarity and friendly sporting rivalry,” said Gilpin.
Japan Rugby 2019 Chief Executive Akira Shimazu said he was “struck at how impressive and dynamic the logo is,” and he added he and his committee have learned a lot from the ongoing tournament.
World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper said he “couldn’t be more pleased with how successful England 2015 has been. We always talked about how 2015 would be record breaking in terms of commercial activities, fan engagement and spectator numbers, and it certainly has been.”
“Rugby World Cup 2019 will see records in some areas but it will be groundbreaking. It will look very different, feel very different and sound very different to any Rugby World Cup we have ever had.”
While all the games will be played in Japan — with the full schedule hopefully worked out next year — Japan Rugby Football Union Chairman Noriyuki Sakamoto said it was still very much an Asian tournament.
“Asia has always been a key word and we are working with our friends in Asia to make sure we have a hugely successful tournament and that we leave behind a lasting legacy not just for Asia but the whole world.”
Gosper said that World Rugby were already in discussions with two major Chinese corporations as a direct result of the tournament being held in Japan.
“It’s clear that having the Rugby World Cup in Japan will raise interest in rugby in China and other countries,” he said.