Scottish Rugby signs strategic alliance with Nagasaki City
Scottish Rugby today signed a strategic alliance agreement with the Japanese City of Nagasaki as part of its preparations for Rugby World Cup 2019.
Nagasaki will host a holding camp for Scotland's world cup squad in 2019 on the eve of the Rugby World Cup.
It will enable the squad to acclimatise to Japanese conditions and the time differences before heading into their official tournament camp, which is yet to be allocated.
Scotland is thought to be the first rugby nation to have put such plans in place so far in advance of the 2019 competition.
They will have access to pitches, a gymnasium, swimming pools and accommodation all in close proximity within Nagasaki.
The agreement also outlines commitments from both parties to participate in promotional activities for each other's benefit and to facilitate discussions with potential commercial partners.
Scottish Rugby CEO, Mark Dodson, said: "It has been a privilege to host our Japanese guests this week to showcase Scotland and our rugby activity in different parts of the country.
"Over recent years we have developed a close bond with both the Japanese Rugby Union and most recently Nagasaki.
"The signing of our strategic alliance today is a culmination of our work together so far and provides a concrete benefit for our national team with the holding camp in Nagasaki ahead of Rugby World Cup 2019."
Tomihisa Taue, Mayor of Nagasaki, said: "I am very proud to sign this agreement at BT Murrayfield. The city's first relationship with Scotland started 150 years ago with businessman Thomas Glover, we now have new relationship through rugby.
"I expect our relationship will expand in several areas and rugby will have a role in that. We hope Scotland have a good Rugby World Cup in 2019 and we will be supporting them."
Scotland team manager, Gavin Scott, said: The logistical preparation for Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan is well underway and the confirmation of this camp, with exclusive use of world-class facilities, presents an excellent foundation for our campaign.
"The camp will allow the players adequate time to recover from the journey, acclimatise to the climate and time differences, and prepare mentally and physically for our part in the tournament."
The Nagasaki agreement builds on the existing relationship between Scotland and the Japanese Rugby Football Union which was first signed in 2013. This was created to develop a deeper relationship between the two countries from a rugby and commercial perspective.
In the previous three years the two countries have held referee exchanges, hosted age-grade teams, played Test matches, such as the 2016 Summer Series, and signed UK arm of the Japanese giant, Mitsubishi Motors, with Edinburgh Rugby.
The work was also designed to help Japan in its preparations for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and from that partnership came the approach from Nagasaki to host Scotland for the pre-RWC camp.
A delegation from Scottish Rugby travelled to Nagasaki during the recent summer series to visit the holding camp and finalise the terms of the new agreement.Leading representatives from Nagasaki have spent the week in Scotland visiting the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy in Aberdeen, watching Nagasaki RFC's U15's play George Watson's College at Myreside and attending a civic reception at the Japanese Consulate in Edinburgh, among others.They also visited the birthplace of Scot Thomas Glover in Fraserburgh, Aberdeen.
A nationally-recognised figure in Japan he was instrumental in developing Nagasaki's shipyard and helped establish several businesses ventures, such as coal mining, which became pillars of Mitsubishi's early growth and diversification.
Glover arrived in Japan in 1859 and his life story is part of the Japanese school curriculum and most recently an historical drama on his life became one of the highest rating TV series in the country helping to create further cultural connections between the two countries.