Schools, Businesses in Japan Newly Form Rugby Teams

Sports Society

Tokyo, Oct. 29 (Jiji Press)--Some schools and businesses in Japan have newly formed rugby football teams, in an effort to counter a decline in the number of players involved in the sport.

The number of Japanese rugby players has shrunk in recent years, exacerbated by teams being scrapped to accommodate the drop in the number of players.

However, host Japan's impressive performance in this year's Rugby World Cup, as shown by its first appearance in the knockout stage, has brought unprecedented levels of interest in the sport, and many are hoping to use the opportunity to breathe new life into the domestic game.

Tokai University Urayasu Senior High School in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, founded a rugby team in April. Taking the helm as head coach is Soichi Nishikawa, 23, who was a key player in Tokai University's rugby team last season.

As a former player in a team that counts Japan captain Michael Leitch as an alumnus, Nishikawa has been invited to join teams in the professional domestic Top League. However, he opted for a teaching role at the senior high school, saying, "I want to pass on the virtues of rugby to the next generation."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press