Japan set to finally host Rugby World Cup

Asia appears set to host its first Rugby World Cup in 2019 after Rugby World Cup Ltd recommended Japan as hosts to the IRB Council.

Asia appears set to host its first Rugby World Cup in 2019 after Rugby World Cup Ltd., an offshoot of the International Rugby Board, recommended Japan as hosts to the IRB Council, which will make the final decision.

England has been recommended as host for the 2015 event, "achieving a balance between funding the global game and developing new rugby markets." The IRB Council will make its final decision on 28th July in Dublin, after examining the 71-page recommendation report put together by RWCL following a lengthy tender process. However, the recommendation by the IRB is seen as effective confirmation.

Australia, England, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Scotland, South Africa and Wales had previously announced they would bid for the 2015 competition with Australia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Scotland, South Africa and Wales bidding for 2019. However, only England, Italy, Japan and South Africa ultimately tendered for the tournament. "It is a tribute to the health of the game and the enormous prestige of RWC that the field was so strong," said Bernard Lapasset, chairman of RWCL and the IRB. He praised the unsuccessful countries, saying: "Both Italy and South Africa would be capable of hosting outstanding Rugby World Cups now or in the future."

He added: "A tournament in England would allow the IRB to maximise funding available for investment in the game through a strong commercial programme and a great Rugby World Cup showcase."

Japan had previously lost out on the 2011 World Cup, which was controversially handed to the more established rugby nation of New Zealand despite a widespread feeling that the Japanese had presented a superior technical bid. The country also recently hosted the IRB Junior World Championship. Lapasset said Japan, "has the ability to deliver an outstanding tournament in 2019."

July's final announcement will be the first time in the competition's history that the host countries for the next two Cups will be announced at the same time, in an attempt by the IRB to provide long-term guarantees about future revenue sources and ensure long-term sponsorship and television rights agreements.

"As the revenue generated from RWC is vital to the IRB's ongoing development plans, the RWCL Board considered in its review process the preference for RWC to be held in one of the major Rugby markets on a regular basis," said Lapasset. "However, the commercial success of RWC also means that we can now consider placing the tournament in developing rugby markets to both reflect and assist the game's continued strategic growth. It is all about finding the right combination."

The last World Cup, in France two years ago, was broadcast to an audience of over four billion, generating a net surplus of UK£122.4 million. The surplus is reinvested by the IRB across its union members around the world.