The beginning of Japanese rugby championship was postponed due to the large number of positive cases for coronavirus, announced the Japan Rugby Federation, six months before the Tokyo Olympics. The Rugby League stated that 67 positive cases had been registered, without specifying if they were players or support personnel, which caused the postponement of the opening of the championship scheduled for Saturday.
“It’s really sad to have to postpone the start of the Top League a few days before its inauguration, “said Kensuke Iwabuchi, President of the Japan Rugby Federation (JRFU). The announcement comes as the Japanese prime minister declared a new state of emergency in greater Tokyo last week to counter the spread of the pandemic, a measure that has since spread to other regions.
This decision also comes six months before the Tokyo Olympics, already postponed a year due to the pandemic, and which must be celebrated from July 23 to August 8. “It is a disappointment for both the players and the teams, as we had worked very hard to prepare for the kickoff. But everything changed in the last few days,” added Iwabuchi. The leaders of the League have indicated that they expect to start the championship in early February to finish the season at the scheduled time on May 23. If the end of the season came after June 26, it would affect the national team that will face the British & Irish Lions on June 26 in Edinburgh.