Beaumont anticipates special and game-changing Rugby World Cup 2019 as Japan celebrates one year to go

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont believes that Japan 2019 will be "a very special and game-changing Rugby World Cup" as the one year to go milestone was marked with a series of celebrations across the host nation.

On September 20, 2019, the world's top 20 teams, supported by 1.8 million fans in-stadia and a global audience of hundreds of millions, will begin their quest to lift the most coveted trophy in rugby, the Webb Ellis Cup.

Since being awarded the hosting rights in 2009, the Japan Rugby 2019 organizing committee in full partnership with World Rugby, the Japan Rugby Football Union and national and local government, has been focused on delivering a unique, once-in-a-lifetime tournament, Asia's first Rugby World Cup.

And as the tournament reaches the year to go countdown, Beaumont, a member of the World Rugby Council that selected Japan as host nine years ago, is confident that the organizers are making good in their bid promises.

"World Rugby selected Japan as we believed in the tremendous opportunity to further the sport across Asia, and I am delighted to say that with a year to go, we are confident that Japan 2019 will be a very special, successful and game-changing Rugby World Cup.

"It will be the most impactful Rugby World Cup ever, attracting and retaining more than one million new rugby players in Asia, while changing the lives of tens of thousands of disadvantaged children in communities across Asia thanks to the generosity of fans supporting our transformational partnership with ChildFund Pass It Back.

"Japan 2019 will also benefit the whole of the nation from Sapporo in the north to Kumamoto in the south, delivering rugby and sports facilities for communities to enjoy, while pumping ¥216.6 billion added value into the economy.

"In keeping with a tournament that has rugby at heart, the team camp and match venue facilities are looking superb and everyone will receive an incredible welcome from engaged host cities and prefectures."

Japan is the place to be in 2019. So far, more than 2.5 million ticket applications have been received across the priority sales phases to date, while tickets went back on sale on Wednesday with the opening of the general application phase via www.tickets.rugbyworldcup.com.

And with more than 400,000 visitors set to travel to Japan for the six-week tournament, STH Japan, the official travel and hospitality provider, has revised-up its official supporter tour and hospitality program estimates owing to exceptional domestic and global demand.

Converting the opportunity of the first Rugby World Cup hosted in Asia has been a major priority for World Rugby, Asia Rugby and the Japan Rugby Football Union and at the one year to go celebration event in Tokyo today, Beaumont announced that the Asia 1 Million project, a key pillar of the Impact Beyond 2019 legacy program, is 90 percent of the way to achieving its target of one million new players in Asia with 899,000 participants to date, while more than 1,900 schools across Japan have implemented tag rugby.

One year to go: Rugby World Cup 2019 by the numbers

1st Rugby World Cup hosted in Asia
6 worldwide partners renewed in record time with record value
9th Rugby World Cup
12 host cities from Sapporo in the north to Kumamoto in the south
20 teams
48 matches
207 broadcast territories
3,000 media in attendance
20,000 disadvantaged children in Asia who will benefit from ChildFund Pass It Back support
400,000 international visitors
899,288 Impact Beyond Asia 1 million project participants to date
1.8 million attendance
2.5 million tickets applied for to date
14 million rugby fans in Japan
112 million rugby fans in Asia
Y216.6 billion added value to the Japanese economy

The draw for Rugby World Cup 2019 took place in Kyoto in May 2017 and the full match schedule can be viewed at www.rugbyworldcup.com/match-schedule. Hosts Japan will face Ireland, Scotland and Samoa alongside opening match opponents Russia.

So far, 19 of the 20 participating teams have been confirmed with Canada, Hong Kong, Germany and Kenya set to compete for the final available place via the repechage in Marseille in November 2018. The winner will join champions New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Namibia in Pool B.

Beaumont added: "Successful events are built on strong partnership and I would like to thank the Japan Rugby World Cup 2019 organizing committee, the JRFU and national and local government for their dedication. However, there can be no sense of complacency and we have a big year ahead as we begin operational readiness testing and urge everyone to keep the strong momentum going."

With significant demand, fans are advised to check the availability status before applying during the general ticket phase, which runs through to 12 November and fans are also reminded that they can purchase official supporter tour and hospitality packages via www.rugbyworldcup.com/supportertours and www.rugbyworldcup.com/hospitality.

In order to have the best spectator experience possible, and not to be let down or misled, fans are urged to only buy Rugby World Cup match tickets, supporter tours, hospitality and merchandise from official sources and check out www.rugbyworldcup.com/buy-official for further details.

Editors' notes:

About Rugby World Cup: Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan is the ninth edition of rugby's showcase global event and the first in Asia. The world's top 20 national teams will play in 48 matches hosted across 12 match cities for the right to lift the iconic Webb Ellis Cup and be crowned world champions. Rugby World Cup is the sport's financial engine, generating approximately 90 percent of World Rugby's revenues for reinvestment in the global game over the four-year cycle. The record-breaking success of England 2015 is enabling World Rugby to invest £245.8 million in the sport by 2020, eclipsing the previous 2013-16 £201 million investment injection by 22 percent. All the latest news can be found at www.rugbyworldcup.com and via @rugbyworldcup across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.