- Title: Japanese and Russian fans party before World Cup opener
- Date: 19th September 2019
- Summary: JAPANESE FAN MAKING SPEECH VARIOUS OF FANS CHEERING TOGETHER AT END OF TOAST RUSSIAN TEAM TRAINING AT TOKYO STADIUM VARIOUS OF PLAYERS WARMING-UP HEAD COACH LYN JONES LOOKING ON VARIOUS OF RUSSIANS PRACTICING LINEOUT RUSSIAN ASSISTANT COACH ALEXANDER VOYTOV WATCHING TRAINING NEWS CONFERENCE UNDERWAY (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN ASSISTANT COACH, ALEXANDER VOYTOV, SAYING: (OFFICIAL TRANSLATION) "Obviously, we are more physical and more aggressive than we were in November. Tomorrow's match will be very physical and the players will take advantage of their physical strengths of speed and strength, particularly in the scrum and ruck. That is what we have been focusing on." CAPTAIN VASILY ARTEMYEV LEADING DRILL VARIOUS OF RUSSIANS TRAINING (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PROP, VALERY MOROZOV, SAYING: (OFFICIAL TRANSLATION) "We played against them last November and they had a lot of quality. They had a lot of speed. In terms of tomorrow's match, which is so important, so we need to show we deserve to be in this match and we want to deliver on all of our hard work in training." VARIOUS OF RUSSIANS TRAINING
- Embargoed: 3rd October 2019 15:30
- Keywords: Rugby World Cup Japan Russia Fans
- Location: TOKYO, JAPAN
- City: TOKYO, JAPAN
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Rugby Union,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA003AXBR39B
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The Rugby World Cup's power to bring people together was abundantly clear on Thursday (September 19) as Japanese and Russian fans sang songs and competed in drinking games in a small Tokyo restaurant the night before the tournament's opening match.
The two nations are set to go head-to-head in the World Cup's first game on Friday and the players of the Moscow Dragons amateur rugby club travelled 7,400 kilometres to be part of the festivities.
Fortunately, they have friends eager to show them around Tokyo.
Mitsuo Maeda, a Japanese national who has lived in Moscow for over 25 years, is a member of the club and has brought his team mates to Tokyo for the opening weekend of matches.
Just hours after landing, Maeda had organised dinner for the Dragons, and the accompanying team from Moscow State University Rugby Club, with his Japanese friends from back home.
The sake was flowing and toasts were made as the two sets of fans bonded over their love of beer, singing and most importantly rugby.
"We say in the club, once a Dragon, always a Dragon," said Maeda.
"It unites people. That is what rugby is about and I am proud of being in a club like this."
The fans all have tickets for Friday's opener and will be going on a bar crawl before the match, which begins at 1945 local time.
The Russian fans are keen to use the World Cup to make new friends and boost the sport's popularity back home.
"This is a big festival of rugby. The World Cup is a special opportunity," one fan called Peter said.
"There are several guys from Japan who played for the Dragons seven or eight years ago and they have organised this dinner to meet Russian friends.
"Maybe some of us never met in Russia, they joined rugby later, but in any case it is part of a family."
(PAroduction: Jack Tarrant)
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