First ever Rugby World Cup to be held in Asia kicks off in style as hosts Japan put on a dazzling display in opening ceremony featuring a replica of Mount Fuji and New Zealand legend Richie McCaw
- Japan opened the first ever Asia-held Rugby World Cup at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo
- Local youngsters were involved in the ceremony as they sang in unison in front of a replica Mount Fuji
- New Zealand legend Richie McCaw emerged onto the stage with the Web Ellis trophy won in 2015
The hosts showed the world what to expect over the course of this year’s tournament as they showed off their fabulous culture to millions watching around the world.
The ceremony began with a single performer sat on the floor before a floral display was shown as the host cities were pictured on the screen in the centre of the stadium as volunteers circled around with flags representing each city.
Two traditionally dressed Japanese people then performed in front of a display of Mount Fuji, before a timeline of rugby’s history – beginning in the UK, was shown to travel the world throughout time to reach Japan today.
A single performer is knelt on the floor as the impressive opening ceremony begins at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo
The performer is sat in the middle of the stage with the traditional Japanese colours of red and white shining on him
The single performer was joined by a larger group as the opening ceremony came to life moments before Japan’s opening game
Dancers perform in the opening ceremony ahead of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group A game between Japan and Russia
A dancer waves to the crowd in the build up to the highly-anticipated opening ceremony at the Tokyo stadium
Japanese fans have really taken the tournament in their stride as the world gets set for another fantastic competition
Local children were dressed in the colours of all 20 participating teams as they were announced by the commentator in the stadium, as the country well and truly embraces its role as hosts.
The youngsters then all sang a chorus in unison as past winners of the Webb Ellis trophy were displayed since the tournament’s inception. The words ‘Unite for the future’ were inscribed below.
The mountain breaks to find New Zealand legend Richie McCaw stood in the centre of the stage with the trophy he held aloft that he won as captain of the All Blacks during their triumph at Twickenham in the last edition of the tournament in 2015.
‘The wait is over, the stage is set, now it’s over to the fans of Japan to make this the greatest Rugby World Cup ever’, said World Rugby chairman, Bill Beaumont, during a rousing opening ceremony speech.
Hosts Japan play Russia in the first game of the tournament in Group A at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo.
Ground staff run as they carry a giant cover across the field during the dazzling opening ceremony in Tokyo
A replica of Mount Fuji was constructed in the centre of the stage, which acted as a screen to display a timeline of World Cup history
Local children encircled the mountain dressed in the colours of each of the participating teams as they waved to the crowd
Japan showed off their wonderful culture to the World as they become the first ever Asian country to host the tournament
New Zealand legend and former All Blacks captain emerged from the mountain with the Webb Ellis trophy the all-conquering side won in 2015
‘The wait is over’ World Rugby chairman, Bill Beaumont, gave a rousing speech ahead of the tournament’s opening game
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