The ground-breaking new Tokyo-based Shibuya International Rugby Club has been announced as the first finalist for the 2018 Rhino Grass Roots Rugby Award.
Shibuya International Rugby Club (SIRC) is the brainchild of prominent Japanese rugby administrator Koji Tokumasu, recent President of Asia Rugby and longstanding JRFU official, and a pivotal player in bringing the world cup to Japan in 2019.
In a country where public playing fields are scarce, and where rugby clubs are dependant on schools, universities and corporations, SIRC was launched to bring rugby to a far wider audience. The club is completely new with a fixed location open to boys and girls for mini and junior rugby.
Rhino CEO Reg Clark said: “While all three past winners of the Rhino Grass Roots Rugby Award have been charities working to develop the game and at the same time make a positive contribution to society, we are delighted to announce SIRC as the winner, recognising club based initiatives at grass roots level.
"SIRC addresses a major developmental issue for Japanese rugby by encouraging the game – for boys and girls – at an early stage and being open to players from all areas, and not from any specific institution.
"Koji has operated at the highest levels in international rugby administration and is passionate about contributing to the grass roots development of the game in Japan. Developing interest in rugby amongst the young is a major target for RWC2019 and SIRC is a great example of how that will happen”.
The club trains and plays at various schools and university grounds in the famous and fashionable Shibuya area of Tokyo, one of which is the British International School.
Koji Tokumasu said: “Shibuya International Rugby Club is delighted to have been nominated for this prestigious award. We hope it will boost our profile internationally and our ability to attract visitors to Tokyo to join our club to play and coach.”
For more information on SIRC, click here.
There will be four nominated finalists for the Rhino Grass Roots Rugby Award, with the other three following in the coming months. The winner will be announced in December.
For more information on the award, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Previous winners of the Rhino Grassroots Rugby Award:
2015 TAG RUGBY TRUST (UK)
2016 KAMPUCHEA BALOPP (Cambodia)
2017 SKRUM (Swaziland)