World Rugby confident of originality of 2019 RWC logo design

LONDON (AP) World Rugby performed ”rigid and rigorous tests” to ensure the originality of the logo used for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, after Tokyo Olympic organizers scrapped their original emblem following allegations of plagiarism.

The logo for the 2019 tournament – representing a rising sun atop Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan – was unveiled in central London on Tuesday.

It was also announced that the event will begin on Sept. 20, 2019, with the final on Saturday, Nov. 2.

Olympic organizers decided last month to scrap the logo for the 2020 Games following allegations its Japanese designer might have used copied materials. It was another embarrassment for organizers, who had already withdrawn the initial design of the main stadium for the 2019 tournament and 2020 Games following public uproar over its skyrocketing cost estimate.

Brett Gosper, chief executive of World Rugby, said he had no concerns about the rugby logo.

”We have done some rigid and rigorous tests to make sure that this is something completely original,” Gosper told The Associated Press. ”It’s a variation on our own rugby logo, so we’ve already been through a thorough process in terms of the shaping, the typing, and so on. This has been given a Japanese flavor.

”We are confident it is original and specific to us.”

The date of the draw for the pool stage of the 2019 Rugby World Cup hasn’t been decided, but Gosper said World Rugby ”will do our best to push it closer” to the event itself.

There was criticism that the draw for the 2015 tournament was made too far in advance and didn’t reflect the world rankings when the event started. England, Australia, Wales and Fiji were drawn in the same pool, pitching together four teams in the top nine in the rankings when the World Cup began.

”Hopefully we will try to get it a little bit closer to the event itself,” Gosper said. ”There are a number of issues we have to deal with, and organizational things we have to consider before we choose the date.

”We have an added complexity in that we have the Olympics following soon after the Rugby World Cup, so we have to get the phasing right in terms of ticketing.”

Gosper predicted Japan would host a ”groundbreaking” World Cup, after rugby in the country was boosted by the national team’s 34-32 win against South Africa in the pool stage last month. It was the greatest upset in rugby history.

”It will look very different, feel very different, sound very different to any World Cup we have ever had,” Gosper said.

”It’s the first World Cup in Japan, the first in Asia, the first in a Tier Two rugby market. It really will situate rugby as a very strong global sport.”

Gosper said he met last week with a ”couple of big Chinese companies” interested in becoming involved in the 2019 tournament, but didn’t disclose any names.