9 May 2009

Japan submits bid to host the 2015 or 2019 cup

2:43 pm on 9 May 2009

Japan has officially submitted a bid to host the 2015 or 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The Asian nation, which lost out to New Zealand for 2011, will compete against England, South Africa and Italy, with the winners to be announced in July.

Asia has never staged the Rugby World Cup but the bid has wide support in the region with a proposal to play some matches in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Japan criticised the International Rugby Board after losing out to New Zealand in the bidding for the 2011 World Cup, accusing the sport's traditional powers of "passing the ball among themselves" at the expense of spreading the game globally.

With the 2011 tournament being held in the southern hemisphere, England are the strong favourites to host the 2015 World Cup but Japan are the early favourites for 2019.