“So, what have learnt lately, boys and girls?”
“We’ve learnt you’re terrible at sticking to a promise to write a regular blog about Japan”
I’ll start with an apology: sorry.
That’s all you’re getting as time is precious!
A lot has happened since we last spoke, so let’s get stuck into some qualifying:
Africa – nothing happening until July
Asia – nothing happening until April
Oceania – done and dusted until the repechage starts
Americas – Uruguay defeated the odds, and Canada, to qualify for “America 2” and send Canada to the repechage. This means we Uruguay join Australia, Wales, Georgia and Fiji in Pool D. Good luck with that.
Europe – a bit of a shocker here, with Spain leading the way from Romania after a narrow victory last week. If Spain can get BP wins at home to Germany and away to Belgium, they’ll qualify as Europe 1 and join a Euro-centric group already containing Ireland and Scotland.
Given this looks likely, Romania and Russia are playing for second which leads to the daunting task of playing Samoa over 2 legs for the final spot in Pool A. It seems strange to think that Japan’s pool could contain 4 European nations but I’d back Samoa over Romania or Russia, so hopefully not!
And that’s kind of where we stand. Despite me being pathetically lax at this, only one team has actually qualified despite a fair bit going on.
And now the fun bit – I have SOME tickets.
I applied in the “Stadium Pack stage” and went for the Tokyo, Sapporo and Kobe stadium options. There was some overlap in the games but chancing my arm that I wouldn’t get them all, I dived in.
Tokyo, unsurprisingly, was not successful. This would’ve included the opening ceremony, a match now likely to be Japan v Spain (!) as well as some other gems, but alas it was not to be and it probably works out for the best – this means my travel plan can be more fluid as I don’t have 4 or 5 visits to Tokyo to fit in.
What I do have is Australia v Fiji and England v Tonga in Sapporo, then England v USA, Scotland v Play-off winner (likely Samoa), Ireland v Europe 1 (likely Spain) and SA v Repechage (any one from Russia, Romania, Canada… probably!) in Kobe. Phew.
With these bits in place, I can do some further planning and slot bits in. For example – do I fly to Sapporo the Saturday morning and watch the opening match at least in Tokyo, or should I fly up on the Friday and watch it in Sapporo? First world problems, eh?
Now, I have the long wait until April 19 when the next batch goes on sale to people outside Japan. Eurgh!
It’s actually hard to write this without sounding like a brag, but I truly want to hear from other people who are going, what tickets they have and what their plans are. I want to swap stories, swap ideas and share travel tips. Let’s get a rugbyunited RWC2019 community going!
Japan is an amazing place with so much to see and do, and if they embrace rugby like they do so many other weird and wonderful things, it’s going to be a joy to be there!
Must go, planning to do! See you, er, soon-ish.