Visually Impaired Rugby in Japan

2019 sees the Rugby World Cup heading to Japan in September and October.  We at TCF are rugby fans and love the Rugby World Cup, but this year we are especially excited since we will be running a Visually Impaired (VI) Rugby Festival in Japan on October 16th and 17th, in between the group stages and Quarter Finals of the World Cup.

As part of this piece of consultancy work, we are developing close ties with the rugby community in Japan, and in early January we travelled to Kawagoe, Saitama, which is just north of Tokyo, to begin the spread of VI rugby throughout Japan and set the coaches on the road to training the VI Japan team.

Over two days of intense learning, 12 players and 19 coaches got to grips (some for the first time ever) with rugby, and the variations that make this form suitable for people with a visual impairment.  With a wide variety of coaches, some used to coaching rugby, others used to working with people with visual impairments, there were a huge range of skills to be learned but everyone took it in their stride and made huge leaps forward.  The coaches were especially interested to take part in training wearing specially adapted glasses that simulate a variety of visual impairments (simulation specs) and understand how their players adapt.

On 6th January the first VI rugby match in Japan took place, and it was the first of many to come, with all of the coaches and players leaving the training enthused to spread the game far and wide. Japan will surely be a strong team come the festival in October, however, there is still lots of work to do before then. 2019 is off and running with a bang and we can’t wait for October to roll around.

We would like to say a huge thank you to Ayako Matsui for arranging everything on the ground in Japan for us, and if you want to know more about VI rugby, or get involved, then please contact Alex Bassan.