Bill Beaumont praised Rugby World Cup hosts Japan for hosting “one of the greatest, if not the greatest” tournament after the 2019 edition climaxed with South Africa crowned champions.
World Rugby opted to take the tournament to Asia for the first time with the aim of boosting the sport’s popularity on the continent.
The home nation duly provided one of the main storylines by progressing to the quarter-finals, the Brave Blossoms receiving huge support as they qualified for the knockout stages for the first time in their history.
The Springboks ended Japan’s run on their way to lifting the Webb Ellis Cup, with Beaumont – who serves as World Rugby’s chairman – delighted with how the six-week event panned out.
“Rugby World Cup 2019 has been one of the greatest, if not the greatest of all time, and certainly the most ground-breaking in terms of bringing the game to new audiences and attracting new fans to the sport we love,” he said a day after South Africa’s 32-12 final win over England.
“On behalf of the whole global rugby family, I would like to thank from the bottom of our hearts Japan and the Japanese people for being such wonderful, humble and history-making hosts.
“While South Africa will rightly take home the Webb Ellis Cup following their outstanding victory, the amazing performances of the Brave Blossoms undoubtedly brought some of the most memorable moments of the tournament.”
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) November 3, 2019
Typhoon Hagibis caused issues for tournament organisers – with some fixtures postponed due to safety concerns – but Beaumont commended the Japanese people for their “resilience and determination” during difficult times.
Official figures released confirmed attendance numbers at 99.3 per cent for games, while a record crowd of 70,103 were at Yokohama International Stadium to witness Saturday’s final.
“The way Japan reacted to the incredibly difficult events surrounding Typhoon Hagibis was a tribute to the resilience and determination of the people of this wonderful country and we continue to think about all those who lost loved ones or were affected by this tragic event,” the former England international added.
“Finally, I would like to thank all 20 teams, the players, match officials, host cities and the amazing ‘No Side’ volunteers who all played their full part in ensuring Rugby World Cup 2019 will live long in the memory.
“Japan 2019 has broken records galore and has changed the face of rugby forever.”
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