With less than 24-hours (at the time of writing) to the start of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan, the excitement and anticipation is building up to what may just be the most competitive World Cup Rugby has ever seen.
As the first ever RWC held in Asia, Japan not only cements its status as one of Asia’s stalwarts of Rugby, but also looks to gain a massive USD 4 billion in economic benefit from hosting the event. The tournament will take place in 12 locations spread across Japan, from Sapporo in the north to Oita in the south of the archipelago.
The 20 teams participating divided into four pools will compete for the top eight spots that go forward into the knockout rounds and although the favourite teams such as New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, England and France all probably have the best chance of going through, all the teams will do their absolute utmost to qualify past the pool rounds. Fiji, Argentina and Samoa are all very capable of pulling one of the hat and surprising the seemingly stronger rivals in their pool, and of course host nation Japan will have the home advantage and crowd on their side and will look to repeat the famous upset they dished out on the Springboks in England, at the 2015 event.
Wales will be reared up and ready to go, especially after receiving one of the most incredible welcomes from the people of the city that they are based in. 15,000 people of the city of Kitakyushu attended the Welsh team open training session on Monday 16th of September! Not only were there cheers and plenty of Welsh flags and colours flying but a very touching rendition of “Land of My Fathers” was also sung by the crowd, much to the respect and honour of the Welsh squad.
Australia and South Africa will be looking for their third World Cup victory and England will be seeking the long awaited second but all eyes will be on the All Blacks who are looking to create history and do the “Three-Peat” following their 2011 and 2015 victories (it would be their fourth overall along with their first win in 1987). The hard work and training, the preparation and frustration along with as much and as many emotions any Rugby fan can imagine will all accumulate for all of the participants as well as all the Rugby fans around the world. Asia will be out to prove that Rugby has a platform for growth in the continent as fans across the region flock to Japan and watch on their televisions at home. The best Rugby is coming and Rugby fans will await with delight to see who will become the Rugby World Cup winners in 2019!