Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan's Crown Prince Akishino and World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont, from left, during the presentation ceremony after the Rugby World Cup final at International Yokohama Stadium between England and South Africa in Yokohama, Japan, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. Photo: AP Photo/Christophe Ena

BLOEMFONTEIN – The first Rugby World Cup in Asia drew to a close on Saturday with South Africa crowned champions in what was the most impactful and groundbreaking event in rugby history.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont was one of the first to sing South Africa's praises.

“Rugby World Cup 2019 has been one of the greatest, if not the greatest of all time, and certainly the most ground-breaking in terms of bringing the game to new audiences and attracting new fans to the sport we love.

“On behalf of the whole global rugby family, I would like to thank from the bottom of our hearts Japan and the Japanese people for being such wonderful, humble and history-making hosts.

“While South Africa will rightly take home the Webb Ellis Cup following their outstanding victory, the amazing performances of the Brave Blossoms undoubtedly brought some of the most memorable moments of the tournament.

“The way Japan reacted to the incredibly difficult events surrounding Typhoon Hagibis was a tribute to the resilience and determination of the people of this wonderful country and we continue to think about all those who lost loved ones or were affected by this tragic event.

“Finally, I would like to thank all 20 teams, the players, match officials, host cities and the amazing ‘No Side’ volunteers who all played their full part in ensuring Rugby World Cup 2019 will live long in the memory. 

"Japan 2019 has broken records galore and has changed the face of rugby forever.” 

The trophy presentation party following Saturday's RWC Final - England v South Africa. Photo: Peter Cziborra/Reuters

African News Agency (ANA)