As of today, it is officially 1000 days until the start of the next edition of one of the greatest sports event in the world: The Rugby World Cup, this time to be held in Japan.
The tournament will arrive in Asia for the first time and preparations are already well under way.
Early next year team camps will be selected across the country, establishing links between tournament and communities across Japan.
The pool draw for the World Cup takes place in Kyoto in May, which in turn will begin the process of organising the match schedule and ticketing programme.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said (via Rugbyworldcup.com):
“2017 is the year when fans can really start to plan their Rugby World Cup experience as the pools, the match schedule and the ticketing programme will all be known. So it’s going to be an important year for event planning.
“Rugby World Cup plays a significant role in inspiring the next generation of rugby players and fans and a key objective of Asia’s first Rugby World Cup is to grow sustainable participation in Japan and throughout the entire continent.
“Next year, in partnership with Asia Rugby, we will be formally launching our IMPACT Beyond 2019 legacy programme, an ambitious project to deliver one million new participants to the game in Asia by 2020 and the infrastructure to support them.
“As we enter a pivotal year for the tournament, I am pleased to say that preparation is on track and the solid foundations for the delivery of a successful event are very much in place. With 75 per cent of Japan’s population within an hour of a Rugby World Cup 2019 host venue, this will be a tournament for all of Japan.
“We continue to work in full partnership with our friends and colleagues at Japan Rugby 2019 to deliver a ground-breaking event that is great for Japan, great for Asia and great for the global game.”
To celebrate the 1000 days milestone, Tokyo Tower in the capital city is being lit up in the Rugby World Cup 2019 colours; a countdown clock is being unveiled in Kamaishi; a tag rugby festival is being held in Saitama; a photo exhibition in Oita; several promotional activities at Top League matches in Shizuoka, Aichi and Fukuoka, and other events hosted by Yokohama, Osaka, Kobe, Kumamoto, Sapporo and other major areas.
Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena