Rugby World Cup: Sir Bill Beaumont hails Japan 2019 as 'probably greatest' ever

Siya Kolisi and Bill Beaumont
Bill Beaumont presents the Rugby World Cup trophy to Siya Kolisi

Japan 2019 will be remembered as "probably the greatest Rugby World Cup" in the event's 32-year history says World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont.

The tournament was the first time the showpiece had been staged away from one the sport's traditional heartlands.

South Africa beat England in Saturday's final to end a tournament that has been embraced by its hosts.

"Japan 2019 will be remembered as probably the greatest Rugby World Cup," said Beaumont.

"It has certainly been the most ground-breaking in terms of bringing the game to new audiences and attracting new fans to the sport."

Although Typhoon Hagibis - a seasonal hazard in the region - forced the cancellation of three pool-stage matches, Japan's run to their first quarter-final, with victories over Ireland and Scotland en route, galvanised local interest.

World Rugby's figures show that stadiums were filled to 99% capacity for the tournament with 1.84m tickets sold, while Japan's victory over Scotland attracted a record domestic television audience of 54.8m.

Worldwide World Rugby say the tournament generated 1.7bn digital video views online.

2027 and 2031 hosts to be announced together

Beaumont announced that the 2027 and 2031 tournaments will be selected at the same time, just as England 2015 and Japan 2019 were, as officials aim to repeat the combination of sharing the tournament between established rugby nations and potential new markets. The process will begin in November 2020.

France are already selected as the hosts of the 2023 tournament, beating Ireland and South Africa in November 2017.

"More than just that, Japan 2019 showed the power of a nation that really did dare to dream," World Rugby chief executive Gosper added.

"We really hope that other unions find the courage to throw their hats in the ring to host the tournament."

The United States has expressed an interest in hosting either the 2027 or 2031 events, while Argentina, Australia and Russia have also suggested they will enter the race.

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