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Japan praised as Rugby World Cup nears sell-out

The England team bus logo during the England media session in Miyazaki (by David Rogers).

World Rugby has revealed that more than 96 per cent of tickets have been sold for this year’s Rugby World Cup ahead of the start of the tournament in Japan on Friday.

Open training sessions from Wales, New Zealand and South Africa have attracted more than 27,000 fans and World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont has said that Japan is “comprehensively proving” to be one of the best tournament hosts to date.

According to World Rugby, recent research has shown that 100.8 million people in Japan are aware of the tournament.

“I am fully expecting a spectacular Rugby World Cup, one of the great tournaments,” Beaumont said.

“Japan has comprehensively proven that it will be the best of hosts, welcoming the world’s best players and 400,000 international visitors with open and welcoming arms. The welcome that the teams have received has been nothing other than magnificent, truly special.”

World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper has also said that the tournament is set to break commercial revenue records and has predicted that the competition will eventually sell out completely.

“It’s going to be a very different World Cup than any others,” he told the AFP news agency. “We’ve already seen the passion of the supporters who are coming to the training sessions, 15,000 people at yesterday’s training session with the Welsh. This tournament is going to be full of surprises on the pitch and off it.

“The goal is to develop the sport and get young people watching it. We set ourselves the objective of having one million new participants, we’re at 1.8 million before the tournament in Japan and in Asia.”

The opening match of the tournament will see hosts Japan take on Russia at Tokyo’s Ajinomoto Stadium on Friday. The final of the tournament will take place on November 2 at Yokohama’s Nissan Stadium.

Adult tickets for the opening match range from ¥15,000 (€125/$138) to Y50,000, with tickets for the final ranging from ¥25,000 to ¥100,000. Tickets for lower-profile group stage matches will be available for as little as ¥2,019, in a nod to the year of the tournament.

Quarter-final tickets will range from ¥10,000 to ¥40,000, with semi-final tickets priced between ¥15,000 and ¥70,000.