Cities Hosting Rugby World Cup Camps Gearing Up for Welcome

Sports Society

Tokyo, Sept. 5 (Jiji Press)--With the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan kicking off on Sept. 20, municipalities chosen as training camp locations for teams participating in the quadrennial tournament are ramping up preparations to welcome them.

The city of Iwaki in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, will be welcoming the Samoan national team for pre-tournament training from Tuesday to Sept. 15. The Samoan side, which will face Japan in the third match of Pool A in the group stage, will partner with the city to hold photograph-taking and hand-shaking events, and offer rugby classes for elementary school and junior high school students.

Iwaki is pulling out all the stops to create a festive atmosphere for hosting the team, also known as Manu Samoa, such as by offering desserts made with cacao beans, a Samoan specialty, at lunches for elementary and junior high schools.

"I'm looking forward to the training camp," 10-year-old Fuya Abe, a fifth-grader at the city's Miwa elementary school, said. "I play tennis, but I would like to also try rugby."

The city of Kitakyushu in the southwestern prefecture of Fukuoka plans to welcome rugby powerhouse Wales for its public practice session at a local stadium on Sept. 16 with a citizen group singing Calon Lan, a Welsh hymn often sung by the team's fans before matches. The city government's International Sports Competition Promotion Office is calling on residents to come watch the session in order to fill the stadium, with a seating capacity of some 15,000.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press