Japan announces stadium setback
World Rugby says it is "extremely disappointed" that Japan's new National Stadium will not be ready to host games at the 2019 World Cup.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe revealed on Friday that the stadium's proposed design template is being scrapped to cut costs.
While its readiness for the 2020 Olympics, which sees Tokyo as host city, is not thought to be in doubt, it will now not be among the 12 rugby venues in 2019, when it was due to stage the opening match and the final, plus probably both semi-finals.
It is understood that Yokohama's 72,000-capacity International Stadium, which hosted the 2002 football World Cup final, is now favourite to step in.
"World Rugby is extremely disappointed by today's announcement that the new National Stadium will not be ready to host Rugby World Cup 2019 matches, despite repeated assurances to the contrary from the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee and Japan Sports Council," a World Rugby spokesman told Press Association Sport.
"The National Stadium was a compelling and important pillar of Japan's successful bid to host Rugby World Cup 2019, which was awarded to the Japan Rugby Football Union in 2009.
"World Rugby is urgently seeking further detailed clarification from the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee, and will need to consider the options relating to the impact of today's announcement."
The tournament is the first Rugby World Cup awarded to an Asian country. The England-hosted 2015 tournament kicks off in exactly nine weeks' time when England tackle Fiji at Twickenham.