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It’s just 100 days to go until the Rugby World Cup kicks off and the Springboks begin their bid to bring the Webb Ellis Cup back to SA for the third time.

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World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont is confident the ninth edition of the showcase event will be a very special and game-changing celebration of rugby and the host nation. Rugby World Cup 2019 will be a tournament like no other.

Asia’s first Rugby World Cup has captured the imagination of the Japanese and fans around the world with more than 80 per cent of available tickets sold to fans from more than 170 nations with purchasers set to travel from as far north as Russia and as far south as Antarctica.

A record 400,000 international visitors are anticipated to arrive in Japan between September and November, while more than 100,000 fans have purchased tickets through Official Travel Agents – surpassing the total sold for England 2015. Excitement continues to build across the 12 host cities with awareness in the host nation breaking the 90 million mark as the iconic Webb Ellis Cup gets set to embark on a 100-day, 15-city tour of the country that will attract more than a million fans.

With rugby’s fanbase having grown by more than 20 per cent since the last Rugby World Cup, an innovative approach to fan-engagement will see the sport inspire a new generation of fans and participants beyond its traditional strongholds. It is set to be the most engaged, viewed and consumed rugby event ever.

Beaumont said: “Rugby World Cup 2019 will be a very special global celebration of rugby that has fans and players at heart. “With 100 days to go I am confident that Japan 2019 will be a game changer on every metric – the most socially and economically impactful, the most transformational, the most-viewed and engaged and, we believe, the most competitive Rugby World Cup to date. “Rugby World Cup is about bringing people together to celebrate rugby, its values and to have fun and I am predicting a truly spectacular event on every level.

It has been wonderful to see this event fully embraced by the people of Japan from Sapporo in the north to Kumamoto in the south.

“From the stadia to the fan-zones and across the host cities, we are looking forward to a unique festival atmosphere as the world’s best players bid to win rugby’s greatest prize – the Webb Ellis Cup.”

Long before the opening match, Rugby World Cup 2019 will be confirmed as a game-changer. The tournament’s legacy programme – Impact Beyond 2019 – has already attracted more than 1,16 million participants in Asia, while dedicated development programmes in Japan continue to introduce children to the sport.

Beaumont added: “We awarded the hosting rights to Japan 10 years ago recognising the clear and compelling opportunity to unlock the rugby potential of Asia, the world’s most populous and youthful continent. I am delighted that we have already converted that opportunity, attracting more than one million new participants (over 200,000 in Japan) and raising more than £1.5 million for the remarkable ChildFund Pass It Back programme, which will transform the lives of more than 25,000 disadvantaged children across Asia.”

The 100 days to go milestone was marked by the unveiling of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Tudor countdown clock in Tokyo and the beginning of a domestic trophy tour that will see the iconic Webb Ellis Cup visit all 12 host cities as well as historic Kyoto before arriving at Tokyo Stadium for the opening match between Japan and Russia on 20 September – a match that is widely anticipated to smash the domestic broadcast audience record of 28 million (Japan v Samoa at Rugby World Cup 2015 via Japanese broadcasters).

Its arrival in Japan will mark the end of an incredible international trophy tour that saw the Webb Ellis Cup visit 19 countries, including a first-ever stop in Chile, and a moving trip to India where more than 17,000 children turned out in one day to see the famous symbol of rugby unity. The trophy has so far travelled 200,000 miles and inspired more than 80,000 people during the largest ever Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour. The Japanese concepts of Ometenashi and Omatsuri are hugely important in Japanese culture and both are set to define the very essence of Rugby World Cup 2019.

Ometenashi is the Japanese spirit of hospitality in which visitors are offered the very best welcome possible, and Omatsuri is the Japanese word for festival. Rugby World Cup 2019 will be an incredible, country wide festival of rugby brining 12 host cities, 16 Fanzones and 55 team camps together to offer fans, players and officials the most special of Japanese welcomes.

Japan Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Committee CEO Akira Shimazu said: “Excitement is building throughout Japan as we count down the final 100 days to go before kick off on September 20th. The Webb Ellis Cup is here in Japan, our Host Cities are ready, our stadiums are in immaculate condition and our 20 teams are itching to take the field. I speak on behalf of all Japan, a 127 million strong welcoming committee, when I say that we are ready to welcome the world to Japan, and ready to host a truly memorable and once in a lifetime Rugby World Cup.”

As Japan gets ready to welcome the world to a truly special, country-wide festival of rugby, the locations of the 16 Rugby World Cup 2019 Fanzones have also been announced. The Fanzones will offer a fantastic environment in which both ticketed and non-ticketed fans can enjoy matches via giant viewing screens and sample local food and beverage, all while enjoying the unique, welcoming and inclusive carnival atmosphere Rugby World Cup is famous for.

With tournament preparations entering the final straight, World Rugby has also praised the tournament organisers Japan Rugby 2019 and the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) for their excellent progress. Beaumont added: “With 100 days to go we would not be in such great shape without the clear vision and teamwork of our friends at Japan Rugby 2019, the JRFU, the teams and all the host cities and I would like to thank them all for their commitment and dedication to preparing what promises to be a very special Rugby World Cup.”

Limited quantities of Rugby World Cup 2019 ticket are currently on sale until the end of July 2019 at https://tickets.rugbyworldcup.com/. Fans can also purchase tickets via the Rugby World Cup 2019 official resale service which gives fans a safe and secure platform to resell tickets to other fans at face value for matches they can no longer attend www.rugbyworldcup.com/tickets.

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