Japan told to get a wriggle on for RWC 2019

Rugby World Cup
by AFP

Japanese organisers were warned Sunday to accelerate their preparations for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, with training venues a key area of concern.

Following the conclusion of evaluation meetings in Tokyo, Rugby World Cup Tournament Director Alan Gilpin was underwhelmed by the progress made with two years to go before the sport's showpiece competition comes to Asia for the first time.

"There are some areas where the organising committee has not progressed as much as we would expect by this stage," he said in a press release.

"The Japan Rugby 2019 organising committee recognise that they need to accelerate the selection of training venues," added Gilpin. 

"These venues must be of a world-class standard that provide the platform for the players to perform at their best." 

England, expected to be one of the favourites under former Japan coach Eddie Jones, were one of the earliest teams to select a training camp venue, choosing Miyazaki, on the southern island of Kyushu.

Other items on the agenda included an evaluation of match venues, ticketing, budgeting and host city operations for the tournament which kicks off on September 20, 2019.

"The next few months will be critical to the ultimate success of the tournament," warned Alan Gilpin.

"We have reminded the organising committee that there is no time to lose with two years to go."

Tournament preparations were rocked in 2015 when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ditched plans for Tokyo's 2020 Olympic stadium - also set to be the venue for the 2019 World Cup final - over its $2 billion price tag.

The venue for the final was switched to Yokohama, host of the 2002 football World Cup final.