A year out from the tournament, STH Japan, the Official Hospitality providers at Rugby World Cup 2019™, hosted a '1 Year to Go' Rugby World Cup celebration event at the British Embassy on 19 September 2018. In collaboration with the Wall Street Journal, this was also the first of a global series of 'Business Rugby talks, the road to Japan in 2019.'

Guests were welcomed by the British Ambassador to Japan, His Excellency Mr Paul Madden CMG. A keen rugby fan, the ambassador shared his enthusiasm and excitement and recognised the important milestone highlighting the impact this global event will have on Japan.

Michael Lynagh, rugby legend and Managing Director, EMEA at Dow Jones, hosted a panel of special guest speakers discussing a range of topics from the development of the game in Japan to the economic benefits the host nation should expect. With Lynagh's wealth of rugby knowledge and experience in rugby commentary, he was the perfect conduit for extracting interesting insights and thoughtful conversation.

It was a diverse and varied panel all of whom have their own role and interest in Rugby World Cup 2019. Yoshihito Yoshida was particularly passionate about Japan hosting the next Rugby World Cup. Having played two Rugby World Cups for the Japanese national team in 1991 and 1995, he mentioned a highlight would be to see his team play on home soil and witness the Japanese national team navigate their way through to the knock out stages. Yoshida also touched upon the great work Rugby World Cup has done for cities like Kamaishi, helping to rebuild and restore the city after the devastating tsunami in 2011 (read more about Kamaishi here).

David Carrigy, as Head of Development and International Relations, was able to give insights into how World Rugby are helping to sustain the growth of the game across all formats. He shared with us that World Rugby are initiating a legacy project, attracting one million new rugby participants. With one year to go, Japan 2019 is on track to be the most impactful Rugby World Cup to date having already attracting 900,000 as part of World Rugby's ambitious Asia 1 Million legacy project. Carrigy further added that one of the key reasons for awarding Rugby World Cup to Japan was to grow the game and reach a wider audience.

Raphael Cheminat, President and Representative Director at Société Générale Japan commentated from the perspective of a worldwide sponsor. This is the sixth Rugby World Cup Société Générale has invested in at a Worldwide partner level. Cheminat revealed that his company shares similar values to rugby, and that is much of the reason why they have been a continued long-term supporter of the game.

Lynagh wrapped up the evening posing an interesting question to the panel, asking them to reveal who they would like to see win Rugby World Cup in 2019 (excluding their home team). Carrigy, diplomatically announced he would love to see Japan win as the host nation. In return, Yoshida reciprocated with a smile at Carrigy (who comes from Ireland) declaring he would like Ireland to win. In true French rugby fashion and with good humour, Cheminat suggested he would be thrilled for anyone but England to win!

The night coincided with Japan's three-year anniversary of their record-breaking match beating South Africa in England at Rugby World Cup 2015. The audience at the British Embassy along with millions of fans worldwide should expect more of the same drama to unfold on the pitch in 2019. Don't miss out on witnessing the unforgettable. Secure your tickets through hospitality now to avoid disappointment.

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About the speakers:

Michael Lynagh

Rugby legend, Michael Lynagh, has had a stellar rugby career, winning a Rugby World Cup with Australia in 1991, and still holds the title of Australia's top points scorer, probably one of the longest standing records in Australian sport. A seasoned broadcaster, Lynagh appears regularly on television as a rugby analyst. He has also written extensively for The Times and The Sunday Times. Now, Michael is managing director, EMEA, for Dow Jones Corporate.


Yoshihito Yoshida

Yoshihito Yoshida is a former Japanese rugby union footballer. He played in the 1991 Rugby World Cup, where he scored two tries against Zimbabwe, at Ravenhill. He was also part of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, playing against Ireland, where he scored two tries and four conversions, and against New Zealand. Yoshida launched Japan Sports Education Academy as Chief Director and is passionately developing human resource through sports. He is now Head Coach of the rugby sevens club, Samurai Seven.


David Carrigy

As Head of Development and International Relations, David's department is responsible for sustaining growth of the game, across all formats, worldwide, working directly with member Unions to establish quality development programmes and pathways. Carrigy's department also leads on International Relations including governance in Unions and continental associations alongside managing all World Rugby constitutional affairs, player eligibility cases and player release management. A History and Politics graduate of University College Dublin, David is an avid rugby supporter and is still actively involved in his university rugby club.


Raphael Cheminat

Now President and Representative Director at Société Générale Japan, Raphael Cheminat has had a successful career since he joined in 1998. He started in the Corporate and Investment Banking Audit department in Paris and has worked all over the world. Société Générale are one of the six Worldwide sponsors of Rugby World Cup 2019. Société Générale first partnered with Rugby World Cup in 1999 and has become one of the most recognisable brands in rugby and a major supporter at international, union and domestic level as rugby continues to enjoy record participation, fan-base and commercial growth.

Rugby World Cup 2019™