World Rugby has completed its fourth official review of Rugby World Cup 2019 hosting preparations following a busy and productive schedule of meetings in Tokyo.

The delegation, led by Tournament Director and Head of Rugby World Cup Alan Gilpin, stressed the importance of the next six months in defining the ultimate success of Asia’s first Rugby World Cup.

With the pool draw completed and fans starting to plan, the meetings mark a major shift in emphasis from foundation planning to operational delivery with critical milestones ahead:

  • Two years to go celebrations: 20 September
  • Announcement of a match schedule that optimises audience engagement
  • Announcement of the on-sale dates and details of the accessible ticketing programme
  • Announcement of the team camps that will be the high-performance homes of the 20 nations
  • Roll out of the IMPACT Beyond 2019 legacy programme within Japan and Asia

The Japan 2019 organising committee’s vision is to connect, engage and go forward with a global celebration of sport, culture and friendship.

With 12 engaged host cities the length and breadth of Japan and up to 400,000 international visitors expected during the six-week event, an unprecedented economic, social and sporting impact is anticipated of up to 400 billion Yen direct economic investment.

Rugby World Cup 2019 will be one of the biggest sporting events of the decade, and with 75 per cent of the population living within an hour of a match venue, there is an opportunity for everyone in Japan to experience and be a part of an unprecedented nationwide festival of rugby, culture and friendship.

Gilpin said: “We have entered an important period of planning that will be critical to the overall success of the tournament, culminating with the finalisation and announcement of a ticketing and marketing programme that is attractive and accessible to all of Japan.

“During a week of productive meetings with our friends from the Japan 2019 Organising Committee, we stressed the importance of maximising key moments such as two years to go and the match schedule announcement to continue to ignite excitement throughout the host cities, who will be central to inspiring people to be a part of a once-in-a-lifetime event that has fan-experience at its core.”

Japan 2019 CEO Akira Shimazu added: “The second tournament review meeting of 2017 built on the positive momentum of a spectacular pool draw in Kyoto that attracted the attention of people throughout Japan.

“The detailed review of every functional area by our friends from World Rugby demonstrates that solid progress is being made and we can now look forward to the match schedule and ticketing programme announcements later this year.

“We will continue to work in full partnership with the Japanese government and host cities with a clear and unifying vision to connect, create and go forward to deliver a very special Rugby World Cup for Japan, for Asia and for the rugby world.”

With Asia experiencing the biggest rate of rugby participation growth in 2016 and the region being home to 80 per cent of the world’s youth, World Rugby’s IMPACT Beyond programme is already being rolled out across member unions as it aims to attract and retain one million new players by the time the tournament kicks off.