Japan became the latest qualifier for the Rugby World Cup 2015 on Sunday 25th May, 2014 after beating Hong Kong 49-8 before a 40,000 crowd of Asian rugby enthusiasts at the national Stadium in Tokyo. The Japanese team, fondly known as The Brave Blossoms, were officially crowned the Asian 5 Nations Champs. This happened while the tournament trophy, the Web Ellis Cup, was on its first visit in Japan as part of the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour. The tour is organized by the Rugby World Cup 2015 committee in conjunction with Land Rover and DHL corporate sponsors. The coveted trophy will tour 15 countries in the next 12 months in celebration of the game before the world cup tournament. The trophy arrived in Tokyo on May 22nd 2014 for a five day tour in schools, universities, social and sporting communities, and other iconic locations around the city. Qualifying for the Rugby World Cup (official website) was a major achievement for Japan since the cup is considered to be one of the biggest international sporting events of 2015. The qualification also demonstrates that Japan will be a serious contender in next year’s world cup as they prepare to host the event four years the coming edition.
The next rugby world cup will be the 8th edition of the championship. The much anticipated tournament games will run from September 18th to October 31st 2015 in various rugby stadia in England and Cardiff. The final will be played at Twickenham Stadium.
Bids for hosting the games were completed in July 2009 where England won against tough rivalry from Japan, Italy, and South Africa. The decision to award England the winning bid against the other four nations was reached after a strong recommendation from the organizers of the competition, the International Rugby Board (IRB). The results were revealed by Bernard Lapasset, the RWCL chairman, on 28th July, 2009.
England revealed the proposed stadia for hosting the tournament on 2nd May 2013. Twelve of the venues are located in England. The Millennium Stadium which will host some of the games is in Wales. It was chosen by the IRB due to its large capacity and strategic location despite being outside the host country. Two of the thirteen venues, Sandy park and Kingsholm Stadium, are rugby union stadia while the Millennium Stadium and Twickenham are well known national rugby grounds. The Olympic Stadium which is a multi-purpose ground will also host several games during the tournament. The rest are football association grounds.
Currently, rugby fans from UK, Europe, and the rest of the world can start planning for the 2015 World Cup by acquiring their tickets in advance. The ticketing programme was recently announced by the tournament organizers and the IRB. It has been confirmed that over 2.3 million tickets will be available for all the tournament’s 48 matches.