The 2019 Rugby World Cup has begun with a spectacular opening ceremony at the Tokyo Stadium in Japan.
Taiko drummers, Kabuki performers, “Mount Fuji”, dancers and a light show treated the fans to a colourful display inside the stadium before Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino officially declared the tournament open.
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “Over the next six weeks we will experience the very best of rugby and the very best of Japan as excitement sweeps this great nation.
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“I know Japan will be the most welcoming of hosts, you are the best. The waiting is over and the stage is set. It’s now over to the teams and the fans to make this the best World Cup ever.”
Twenty international rugby union nations are playing in the tournament. The action kicked off with the hosts Japan beating Russia 30-10 in the first match of pool A.
The 2019 Rugby World Cup final will be held on 2 November in Yokohama.
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Best videos from the opening ceremony
2019 Rugby World Cup
- When: 20 September to 2 November
- Where: 12 locations across Japan
- Teams: 20
- Number of matches: 48
- UK TV channel: live on ITV
RWC guides and features
- Winner predictions and betting odds: who will lift the Webb Ellis Cup?
- Squads: who will be playing for the 20 teams in Japan?
- Manu Tuilagi says ‘special’ England are raring to go
- Scotland team profile, pool A fixtures, squad
- Ireland team profile, pool A fixtures, squad
- England team profile, pool C fixtures, squad
- Wales team profile, pool D fixtures, squad
- Wales squad ‘rocked to its core’ by Rob Howley’s departure
- England at full-strength for ‘ferocious’ Tonga test
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