Rugby News

Japan to host 2009 junior world championship

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan will host the 2009 rugby junior world championship in a move Japanese officials hope will boost their chances of staging the 2015 World Cup.

Japan, which lost out to New Zealand in the bidding to host the 2011 World Cup, would be one of 16 teams competing in the tournament, officials said on Thursday.

“This is an exciting development for the game in Japan and Asia (that) will foster the growth of rugby within in Asia,” said Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) Chairman Nobby Mashimo.

“It will give the JRFU invaluable experience of hosting a major rugby event. We believe it will become the foundation for our bid to host a future rugby World Cup.”

Japan, Asia’s top rugby nation, is also being lined up as a Bledisloe Cup host in 2009 and a potential base for a new team in an expanded Super 14 competition.

Next year’s under-20 junior world championship will run from June 6-22.

Reporting by Alastair Himmer; Editing by Peter Rutherford