Wallabies touch down in Japan ahead of Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Rugby World Cup just got a whole lot closer for the Wallabies, with the team arriving in Japan on Monday night.

The Aussies were initially scheduled to leave Sydney on Sunday night but their plane was delayed by 16 hours because of Typhoon Faxai.

The tropical storm left  three people dead and many areas of Tokyo without power in recent days and the city is still assessing its aftermath.

Once the Wallabies were cleared to leave Sydney on Monday afternoon, everything went smoothly with their trip.

Michael Cheika and his squad touched down in Tokyo late on Monday night, to a horde of excited Japanese fans at Haneda airport.

They were straight on the bus to Odawara, their pre-World Cup training base, 64km outside of Tokyo.

Prop Allan Alaalatoa said the delay hadn't disrupted the side's preparation.

"There was a bit of a delay but it was alright," he said.

"The boys got together on Sunday night and woke up after a good rest and decided to fly yesterday.

"A long day of travel yesterday but it's good to finally be here in Odawara and get the week started."

Wallabies veteran Adam Ashley-Cooper is greeted by fans at Haneda international Airport in Tokyo. Photo: AFPOdawara will serve as the base for the Wallabies ahead of this tournament as well as the Australian Sevens sides ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and the town has embraced Australia with open arms.

Banners celebrating the Wallabies' visit and showing support for the Australian side, dubbing the area "Odawallaby" for the week, are hard to miss around the town centre.

Preparations will ramp up for the Wallabies on Wednesday, their first full training day in Japan, a week out from their move to Sapporo, where they play their opener against Fiji.

The Wallabies spent time in Odawara in 2018 ahead of the third Bledisloe Test in Yokohama and Alaalatoa said it was good to be back in a familiar spot.

"It's a familiar place for us," he said.

"We were here last year for a week so we're going to be training in the same facilities in the same environment.

"A lot of familiar faces around the staff, just seeing them from last year, so it's exciting."

David Pocock signs autographs at Haneda airport. Photo: AFPAustralia will head to Sapporo, on the north island of Hokkaido on September 18 before their first match, against Fiji, on Saturday September 21.

The Wallabies play Wales on September 29 in Tokyo in a crucial second pool match, before taking on Uruguay in Oita on October 5 and Georgia in Shizuoka on October 11.

Australia was one of a number of teams to arrive in Japan in recent days, with the All Blacks, Argentina and England among the other big hitters touching down.

South Africa was the first major country to arrive in Japan, taking on the tournament hosts in a Test match last Friday night.

Japan and Russia open the tournament's action on Friday September 20 at Tokyo Stadium.