Rugby players on alert for storms on and off the pitch
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?”
James Davies may need to cover his tattoos if goes to the World Cup.