World Rugby is looking to use the success of this year’s world cup tournament in Japan as a springboard for developing nations to play more matches against the established elite.
Japan beat tier one rugby nations Scotland and Ireland en route to their first ever World Cup quarter-final, a feat that coach Jamie Joseph has stressed was a result of experience gained by playing more established teams.
Japan played the likes of England, New Zealand, Ireland and France in the two years building up to the World Cup.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said on Sunday it would be a priority for Japan and other tier two nations to play more matches against the top teams, including newly-crowned world champions South Africa.
As well as inspiring other smaller rugby nations with their play on the field, Japan’s successful hosting of the World Cup vindicates World Rugby’s decision in 2009 to award the tournament to a nation outside the sport’s traditional heartlands for the first time.
Despite several matches having to be cancelled due to the impact of Typhoon Hagibis, the tournament’s organisation has been widely praised. World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper hailed it as “probably been the greatest Rugby World Cup” ever.
World Rugby confirmed on Sunday that it would be running the bidding process for both the 2027 and 2031 World Cups simultaneously, a policy it hopes encourages more developing nations to follow in Japan’s footsteps.
“Japan 2019 showed the power of a nation that really did dare to dream by hosting this,” said Gosper.