Japan have broken their home game attendance record.
While Jamie Joseph’s side will have been disappointed with the defeat at the hands of the All Blacks, the nearly 44,000 fans in attendance were treated to a genuinely entertaining and an at times closely fought game at the Ajinomoto Stadium in west Tokyo.
There were just small areas of spare seats in the 49,970 capacity soccer stadium, the normal home ground of Tokyo FC.
A record 43,751 fans were in attendance, a figure which breaks Japan’s record for a Brave Blossoms home game. The previous record holder was last year’s game with the Wallabies, where 43,621 watched a 30 – 63 defeat at the Nissan Stadium in Yokohama.
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The record attendance at a Japan match outside of the country was the 73,969 that watched Japan take on Wales at the Millenium Stadium in 2016. The second highest attendance was also against Wales in the Millenium Stadium, when 73,969 watched the Brave Blossoms in 1999.
The record home attendance is good news as the country prepares to host the game’s centrepiece tournament.
It’s now under a year to go until Japan plays Russia in the opening match of Rugby World Cup 2019 and Asia’s first Rugby World Cup appears to be capturing the imagination of a nation and the global rugby family with demand for tickets and official supporter tour and hospitality packages exceeding expectations.
“It is very encouraging to see such strong demand for tickets with a year to go until Rugby World Cup 2019,” said World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said in September.
Akira Shimazu Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Committee President & CEO said: “Demand for Rugby World Cup 2019 tickets has been incredibly strong with more than 70 per cent of the available inventory sold during the initial sales ballots that ran until June this year.
“We’ve seen the highest demand for matches featuring the host nation Japan, world champions New Zealand, as well as Ireland and England, with interest across the knockout stages also incredibly strong.”
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