Welcome to the land of the rising scrum. That will be the message from Japan in the autumn of 2019, when it hosts the 9th Rugby World Cup. It is important for Japan that the tournament is a success; sports diplomacy is a key ingredient in its "soft power" strategy and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are coming up next. It is equally important for rugby, as it attempts to establish itself as a global sport. A decent on-field performance by the Japanese team would work wonders on both counts.
Year of the Brave Blossoms
Rugby World Cup creates chances for Japan to win points on and off the playing field