Rugby Foundation Chapter Launch takes Wallabies a step closer to Japan Test
• Launch of the Australian Rugby Foundation Japan
• Partnership of Crown Foundation and the Australian Rugby Foundation
• Partnership with the Australian Embassy Japan as part of the Australian Sports Diplomacy Strategy 2015-18
The Australian Rugby Foundation (ARF) has continued its growth internationally with the launch of the ARF Japan Chapter today in partnership with the Australian Embassy Japan and Crown Resorts through the Crown Foundation.
Joining as an official partner of the ARF, Crown offers a unique partnership between the two global organisations.
The Partnership with the Australian Embassy Japan continues the ARF’s positive engagement with Embassies and High Commissions around the world as part of the Australian Government’s Sports Diplomacy Strategy.
The ARF was established this year as the national foundation for Rugby in Australia with the goal of driving greater investment in Rugby from the grassroots to the elite and engaging with Australian Rugby’s supporters around the globe.
Japan was a natural selection for the ARF with the nation set to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup – the first time the tournament will be held in Asia.
Australian Rugby Union Board Member, Brett Robinson, said the launch was an exciting new chapter for the ARF.
“Japan is one of Australia’s largest trading partners and the economic and political links we share are well understood – sport is a natural extension of this strong relationship,” Mr Robinson said.
“Sport has always helped to define Australia’s national ethos and it should also be fundamental in our efforts to better promote our nation and our values and motivations as we endeavour to build closer partnerships with our neighbours.
“Rugby is a growing passion for the Japanese people and the partnership between ARU and JRU will only continue to grow. With the Rugby World Cup in 2019, ARU will look to commence discussions with their JRU counterparts about a potential Qantas Wallabies Test match in Japan in 2018.”
The ARF now has a presence in a number of Australia’s major export and direct foreign investment markets includingLondon and Tokyo and will expand next year to establish Chapters in Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and Paris.
Australian Ambassador to Japan, Mr Bruce Miller, welcomed the partnership with Australian Rugby through the Japan Chapter as a great example of the Government’s Sports Diplomacy Strategy.
“Sport is unique in its ability to promote the universal values of inclusion, equality and fairness. Sport is also one aspect for which Australia has a reputation for excellence perhaps second to none on the world stage,” Mr Miller said.
“Through the Sports Diplomacy Strategy we can help build stronger economic links and encourage greater social and cultural ties with partner countries.
“We are excited about the RWC 2019, one of the World’s largest sporting events, and we look forward to enticing the Wallabies to play a test in Japan in the lead-up.”
The ARF has recruited Melanie Brock, Chair of the Australian New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Japan, from CrownResorts, Peter Davis from ANZ, and Andy Friend, Head Coach Suntory Sungoliath, to serve as the inaugural ARF Japan Chapter.
Speaking on behalf of Crown, Melanie Brock said that the ARF was a great opportunity for Crown to expand the positive impact they have within Australia’s Indigenous communities through the Australian Indigenous Rugby Program.
“As a leading nation, in a truly international sport, Australian Rugby also enables Crown to have a presence in markets right around the globe,” Ms Brock said.
“As with many countries, Rugby has a special place in the hearts of many Japanese people. Through the ARF, Crown can partner with Rugby internationally to make a positive impact in communities locally.”
The desire from Japanese clubs for Australian players has been high with many high profile Wallabies including Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Nick Cummins and Ben McCalman signing dual contracts to play in Japan and in Super Rugby over the next two years.
Following the conclusion of the RWC 2015 ARU will look to commence discussions with JRU about a potential Qantas Wallabies Test match in Japan in 2018.
More information on the ARF is available at: http://www.australianrugbyfoundation.org.au/