Japan Ties Canada Blowing a Chance to Win the Rugby World Cup

Happy faces were hard to find among Rugby World Cup teams on Tuesday.

Kosuke Endo of Japan ran past Jebb Sinclair, Canada’s number 4, to score his team’s second try on Tuesday in Napier, New Zealand.

Italy labored to a 27-10 victory over the United States in Nelson, and Japan conceded a 23-23 draw with Canada in Napier, blowing a chance in its last pool match to end a Cup-record 17-game winless streak that dates to 1991.

Canada scored eight points in the last five minutes to salvage the draw with Japan, but it failed to put any pressure on France as both tried to secure a spot in the quarterfinals. New Zealand has already secured one of the quarterfinal spots from Pool A.

Read the rest of the story: Japan Blows a Chance to Finally Win at Rugby World Cup.

Rugby: Japan to be Sevens World Series tournament host

Japan will host a Sevens World Series tournament for the first time next year in a boost for rugby union in Asia, officials said Thursday.

The Japanese leg will take place a week after the iconic Hong Kong Sevens tournament at Tokyos Prince Chichibu Stadium from March 31 to April 1, the International Rugby Board IRB announced.

Japan, which will also host the 15-a-side Rugby World Cup in 2019, becomes the seventh of nine stops on the expanded Sevens series. A planned test event this year was called off after Marchs horrific earthquake-and-tsunami disaster.

Read the rest of the story: RugbyU: Japan becomes world Sevens host.

$1 Million Man – Ex-Wallaby George Smith signs deal to play in Japan

An official announcement on Smith’s three-year contract is yet to be made.

The size of Smith’s 76.8 million yen a year contract will sound warning bells for rugby officials in Australia and New Zealand with fears of a exodus of high-profile players to Japanese and European clubs waving their chequebooks after the World Cup.

It is understood they already have several topline players in their sights.

After playing 110 Tests and becoming the Wallabies’ most capped forward, Smith revealed at the start of this year that he was retiring from international rugby and was granted a release by the ARU and the Brumbies.

Following the 2010 Super 14 season the 30-year-old headed to France where he is playing with the big-spending Toulon club alongside English five-eighth Jonny Wilkinson.

Read the rest of the story: Ex-Wallaby George Smith signs $1 million deal to play in Japan.