Rugby

All-Japan Championship canceled for first time over coronavirus

Kyodo

The Japan Rugby Football Union announced Thursday the cancellation of this year's All-Japan Championship in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The season-ending championship, usually involving the top four sides from the Top League competition, was scheduled to take place over two weekends beginning on May 23.

But with the number of infections continuing to rise across the country, the JRFU made the "disappointing" decision to abandon the title playoffs for the first time, President Shigetaka Mori said.

"It's very unfortunate that we must cancel the championship for the first time in its history, but we will continue to do whatever we can to stop the spread of infection," said Mori.

The Top League announced late last month it was scrapping the remainder of its season after playing six match rounds, but would consider an alternative method for picking the sides to compete for the 57th All-Japan Championship trophy.

The league, which had been on hiatus since mid-February, had made plans to resume this month before deciding to call off its remaining 42 matches.

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