Rugby play­ers on alert for storms on and off the pitch

Llanelli Star - - News - Ben James [email protected]­di­

WALES’S rugby play­ers will have to be on alert for both tat­toos and ty­phoons at next year’s Rugby World Cup.

That is the ad­vice of World Rugby, which has warned sup­port­ers and play­ers to cover up any tat­toos to avoid caus­ing offence – as tat­toos are as­so­ci­ated with the Ja­panese mafia, the Yakuza.

They have also ad­mit­ted that there are con­tin­gency plans in place with the dan­ger of ty­phoons, floods and earth­quakes a pos­si­bil­ity in a num­ber of venues – in­clud­ing the po­ten­tial lo­ca­tion for a Wales v Eng­land quar­ter-fi­nal.

Play­ers such as Ross Mo­ri­arty and James Davies may have to cover up their body ink when us­ing pub­lic pools and gyms.

“We will make (Ja­panese) peo­ple aware around the fa­cil­i­ties that play­ers will use in the coun­try that peo­ple with tat­toos in a Rugby World Cup con­text are not part of the Yakuza, the Ja­panese mafia,” said Alan Gilpin, the head of the Rugby World Cup.

“When we raised it with the teams a year or so ago we were prob­a­bly ex­pect­ing a frus­trated re­ac­tion from them, but there hasn’t been at all. That is a great trib­ute to the sport it­self and to the rugby play­ers them­selves.

“They all also buy into the idea of putting on a rash-vest in the pool or in a gym as they want to re­spect the Ja­panese cul­ture. If they are us­ing a pub­lic pool they will have to cover up.

The dan­ger of ty­phoons and earth­quakes has made the World Cup the most chal­leng­ing to or­gan­ise.

Ja­pan has on av­er­age 480 earth­quakes a year and was re­cently hit by its big­gest storm in a quar­ter of a cen­tury this month, with Ty­phoon Jebi killing at least 10 peo­ple in Osaka.

“It’s a real hot topic for us right now,’ said Gilpin. “It’s a com­plex piece and a piece that we would do for ev­ery tour­na­ment. This one has a height­ened sense of re­al­ism to it.

“Teams will be ar­riv­ing at this time next year. We are plan­ning what hap­pens if a team ho­tel is lost, if a train­ing venue is lost, if one or more match venues are lost.

“And where do you re­lo­cate matches to, what are the time­frames, how does that ef­fect trans­port, plan­ning, mov­ing teams around?”

Main pictue: Chris Fair­weather/Huw Evans Agency

James Davies may need to cover his tat­toos if goes to the World Cup.

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