Nahoko Yamamoto and Kei Fukuoka are exactly the kind of people the heads of Japanese rugby had in mind when they bid to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The two work colleagues, who both live in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, had never been to a rugby game before they got tickets to the South Africa vs. Canada first-round match at the tournament last October, but they were immediately won over by the atmosphere inside Kobe Misaki Stadium.

“The thing I remember most is that South Africa was very strong, so Canada was trying all it could just to score one try,” Fukuoka says. “Canada eventually scored and all the fans, including the South African fans, cheered. There was a sense of unity in the crowd, and that really moved me.”