Hokkaido’s Abashiri and Miyazaki have been selected as training camp sites for the Japan national team for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the Japan Rugby Football Union announced on Wednesday.
Both are familiar cities to the Japanese rugby community and fans as they have long been used as training camp sites.
Before the 2015 World Cup in England, the Brave Blossoms held a series of training camps in Miyazaki, while Abashiri, located on the eastern tip of Hokkaido, has been the venue for many collegiate and Top League training camps.
“Miyazaki hosted the Japanese national team before the previous World Cup in England for a total of 75 days in 10 training camps,” Miyazaki Prefecture Gov. Shunji Kono said at a Tokyo news conference on Wednesday. “And the team posted a dramatic victory over South Africa. It made us proud as well.”
Japan also held a training camp in Miyazaki in June before its three-match test series against Italy and Georgia.
“We are actually advertising that you can come up with positive results if you have training camps in Miyazaki,” Kono joked.
Japan is scheduled to stage training camps at the Sheraton Grande Ocean Resort in Miyazaki from June 9-28 and July 7-24 next year. The squad will have another at the Abashiri Sports Training Field from Aug. 18-28.
The World Cup will kick off with an opening match between Japan and Russia on Sept. 20 at Tokyo Stadium, also known as Ajinomoto Stadium.
The JRFU said Japan is likely to add more training camp sites depending on the schedule of next summer’s Pacific Nations Cup.
Abashiri Mayor Yoichi Mizutani said the site offers ample fields while the hotel is located within walking distance.
“Our city has hosted training camps for rugby since (1989),” Mizutani said. “So we have 30 years of experience of hosting teams and that gave us an edge this time. We have accepted so many Top League, collegiate and corporate teams for their training camps. We have a great environment and food, and we have onsen (hot springs). So we can offer rest for the players.”
Fiji will also have a training camp in Abashiri.