KOBE – U.S. head coach Gary Gold said hosting the Rugby World Cup put Japanese rugby on the map, and hopes the United States will have the same opportunity in order to create a steady profile.
The former Kobe Kobelco Steelers coach made his return to the city in the Eagles’ 45-7 loss to England on Thursday night.
“Fantastic memories of being here in Kobe and obviously working with the Kobe Steelers. This was our home stadium, obviously our home city as well. Fantastic club, great memories of being here,” he said earlier this week.
Hosting the tournament, he said, will speed up the efforts to raise the rugby profile in the western part of the Japan.
“I think, obviously the game four years ago against South Africa put Japanese rugby even more so on the map. I think the work Eddie (Jones) has done in Japan has put rugby on the map,” Gold said of the ex-Brave Blossoms coach.
The United States, currently ranked 13th, faces what he describes as an “underdog status.” Gold, however, sees that hosting the tournament will be a “tremendous success” if it is a possibility, as it will further speed up the growth of the team and popularity.
“Instead of thinking about that we’ve got to improve our game enough in order to deserve to host a Rugby World Cup, I actually see it as the other way around,” he said. “If the USA were able to host the Rugby World Cup in 2027 or 2031, I think that would give a lift to the game. There’s certainly enough interest.”