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From Toyko to Doha, the weekend snapshots told you all you needed to know about the respective wisdom of staging global events in non-traditional locations. Trains returning from Shizuoka on Saturday and the Tokyo Stadium 24 hours later were bouncing, shaking, singing vessels of joy, a karaoke on rails, as thousands of Japanese, Irish, Australian and Wales supporters, plus a good many neutrals getting their vicarious kicks from great sporting occasions, returned to base, wholly immersed in the experience, value for money and a balm to the soul. In Qatar, meanwhile …
It is easy to overlook the fact that as RWC 2019 presents stories and vistas daily, generating headlines or delighting the senses, it was considered a real risk 10 years ago to take this tournament to Japan. Rugby in Japan, athletics and football in Qatar? Even now, there is evidence that chunks of the local population remain untouched by the event and certainly there are concerns that any legacy might be wasted if the Japan union does not get its act together and put in place better programmes for kids and colts. It would be sacrilege on a grand order if they did not capitalise on these boom times.
The tournament is managing to reach out into its own locale as well as transcending boundaries within the sport itself. It has already proved that there is scope for expansion, shown that teams such as Japan itself, or Georgia in Europe, Uruguay too, have claim on being admitted to established competitions. World Rugby’s League of Nations project may have hit the buffers but that does not mean the concept itself, of new teams, new territories, is a dud. Far from it. RWC 2019 has shown it is a whole new ball game out there.
Image is everything in the modern age, either beamed through television sets or projected on to social media. The pictures may embellish the scene but they do capture a mood. The backdrop is one thing; the sporting detail on the ground another. The World Cup is working on both levels.
There are some here who fear the controversy over officiating at the World Cup is detrimental to the tournament. It is anything but. It is just what it needs. Every time there is an incident, or every time Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika sounds off about the “spirit of the game” being traduced by Fiji or complaining that he is “embarrassed” as a former player by what he considers to be fussy, non-macho rulings made on tackles and contact to appease “doctors and lawyers”, and “spooking” the referees, it highlights the very issue that World Rugby wants to see up in bright lights and strident headlines. The coverage, that focus, has been brilliant.
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A welcome focus on player safety, karaoke trains, and the rise of emerging nations – this Rugby World Cup keeps giving have 648 words, post on www.telegraph.co.uk at October 1, 2019. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.