Lapasset hails wonderful Tokyo Sevens
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset says that Japan's successful hosting of the Tokyo Sevens can be a springboard to a successful Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.
Won by Australia, the first international Sevens event in Japan for 11 years attracted record advance sales for a Rugby event in Japan.
Even horrendous weather on day one could not prevent the party on day two as bumper crowds enjoyed a superb spectacle on and off the pitch.
"There is no doubt that the Tokyo Sevens has been a resounding success on and off the field of play," said Lapasset.
"Despite the bad weather on day one, the sun shone on day two, the crowd was strong and the atmosphere electric. It was a wonderful event."
"It is clear that this event has great potential to go from strength to strength as a major attraction on the HSBC Sevens World Series calendar."
"The event also has a major role to play as a stimulus for further Rugby promotion, development and interest in the run up to RWC 2019 in Japan."
The successful Tokyo event is another boost for Rugby in Asia and follows an outstanding Hong Kong Sevens, while more people are playing Rugby in the region than ever before.
"These are exciting times for Rugby throughout Asia. Participation has grown by 18 per cent since 2007 and Rugby is taking off in China, India and Sri Lanka," Lapasset added.
"With Tokyo now on the HSBC Sevens World Series circuit, Nanjing hosting the 2014 Youth Olympic Games and South Korea hosting the 2014 Asian Games, Rugby is set to reach out to more men, women and children in Asia as we look to our Olympic Games return in 2016 and Rugby World Cup 2019"
Attention in Tokyo now turns to Rugby World Cup 2019 preparations on Monday and Tuesday as the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Body hosts Rugby World Cup Limited Managers to advance hosting planning and preparation.