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Rugby World Cup: Surprise package Italy, Japan's Kamaishi one of the 12 hosts, and other facts

The sporting circuit is back with yet another extravaganza.

Oct 01, 2019, 12.25 PM IST
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Japan's Oita railway station has received a rugby-themed makeover.
The dust has barely settled on the frenzied excitement of the ICC World Cup that the sporting circuit is back with yet another extravaganza: The Rugby World Cup
Southern comfort.

The biggest upset of the World Cup didn’t take long in coming. On just the sixth day, Uruguay — playing its first World Cup since 2003 — upset Fiji. Barely 12 months ago, the same opponents had met and the Fijians had won 68-7.

To hell and back
Kamaishi was almost wiped off the map by the 2011 tsunami. Over 1,000 people lost their lives here. Today, however, it’s back on the map for an entirely different reason. The rugby-mad Japanese town is one of the 12 hosts chosen for the World Cup.

Stallions on a roll
The surprise package of the Rugby World Cup so far has been Italy. The unfancied Italians, placed in the ‘Group of Death’, won their opening two matches, against Namibia and Canada. A win over New Zealand or South Africa would put them in pole position to make the quarter-finals for the first time ever.

Japanese hospitality to the fore
The Japanese concept of ‘Omotenashi’, which refers to the attention to detail paid to ensure visiting guests have the time of their lives, was in full display at the different venues and host cities. The Oita railway station has received a rugby-themed makeover, including this giant sculpture welcoming fans.

Royalty rumble
Japan hasn’t enjoyed much success on the rugby pitch, but the sport is very popular in the archipelago. Even Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko made it a point to attend the matches.

Fanning the flames
After years of living in the looming shadow of the upcoming summer Olympics in 2020, the Rugby World Cup has finally managed to be taken seriously in its own right. Over 400,000 fans have descended on the 12 different venues, and World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont told The Guardian that “a flame has been lit”.

Naomi Osaka, Diego Costa, Monica Seles: Sports Stars Who Found A Home Away From Home

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US Or Japan

22 Apr, 2019
World No. 1 tennis player Naomi Osaka currently holds dual citizenship — of Japan and the US. But come October, she’ll have to relinquish one passport as Japanese law requires dual nationals to choose one before the age of 22. Here are others who chose to find a home away from home.(In pic from left: Naomi Osaka, Diego Costa, Monica Seles)

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