In Brief

Rugby World Cup diary: Japan PM Shinzo Abe predicts best-ever tournament

All Blacks forward Luke Jacobson is ruled out of the RWC with concussion

2019 Rugby World Cup
  • When: 20 September to 2 November  
  • Where: 12 locations across Japan 
  • Teams: 20
  • Number of matches: 48
  • UK TV channel: live on ITV
PM Abe excited for RWC to begin

Rugby World Cup fever has hit Japan and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is confident that his country can deliver the “best tournament”. 

Host nation Japan face Russia in the opening game next Friday in Tokyo and Abe is excited for the matches to begin. 

Speaking at an event to mark the one-week countdown Abe said: “I am looking forward to the opening ceremony and opening match and hope for a great performance from the Japan national team. 

“The iconic Webb Ellis Cup is a symbol of strength, hard work and courage and I appreciate the hard work of many people who have made this possible.

“I am sure that we can work together to make a very special occasion, the best tournament.”

Economic impact

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont believes Japan will have its moment to “shine” on the global stage. 

It’s expected that more than 400,000 supporters will travel to Japan for the tournament, which ends on 2 November with the final in Yokohama.

“We want you to take full advantage of this incredible opportunity to host one of the world’s biggest and best-loved major sports events,” said Beaumont.

“From record nationwide economic impact to a global tourism, trade and event host shop window, this is Japan’s moment to shine on the world stage.

“We know that the rugby flame has been lit, that interest is phenomenal and that more young people in Japan are getting into rugby than ever before.”

Kiwi forward Jacobson ruled out

Defending champions New Zealand have announced that loose forward Luke Jacobson will miss the Rugby World Cup after suffering a delayed onset of concussion. 

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said: “After discussing this latest episode with Luke, as well as our medical team, the decision has been made to, sadly, withdraw him from the tournament. 

“We all felt that the best thing for him to do is to take a break from rugby until he is symptom-free and ready to return to rugby. 

“While it was a tough conversation to have, ultimately it was a very simple decision. We have a duty of care to look after our players and Luke’s health is the most important thing above anything else.”

The 22-year-old is replaced in the Kiwi squad by Tasman loose forward Shannon Frizell.

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