Japan Rugby Football Union and Italian Rugby Federation Sign MOU

The Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) is pleased to announce that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR). The agreement will see the JRFU and FIR strengthen their cooperation to explore beneficial opportunities for the mutual development of their national teams, high-performance programmes, player pathways and local competitions.

The MOU will look to enable the two unions to strengthen their men’s and women’s national teams, develop age-group pathways, collaborate in the areas of coaching, high-performance, and player welfare, as well as explore commercial collaboration opportunities.

In addition to arranging men’s and women’s test matches, the MOU will provide a framework for mutual exchange among both country’s second-tier national sides and at age-group level. This includes matches and training camps, exchange of technical staff and match officials, and seminars for medical staff and trainers.

Following the singing of the MOU, the two unions have agreed to play a test match between the Italian Women’s National Team and the Sakura Fifteen in Parma on September 30. The match will act as warm-up for both teams ahead of World Rugby’s new international tournament, the WXV. Japan and Italy will compete in Division 2 of WXV to be hosted in South Africa and will face each other in their opening match at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on October 13.

Italian Rugby Federation President, Marzio Innocenti said:
“We’re delighted to welcome the JRFU to Treviso for the signing of this MOU ahead of this massive test match between our two countries. Italy and Japan are two great rugby nations and we’re both highly committed to continue developing, both on and off the field. Sharing our knowledge, while remaining fierce competitors on the rugby field is key for achieving the progression we want for the game in both our countries We’re honoured to be working alongside the JRFU now and in the years to come. We look forward to today’s game between the Azzurri and the Brave Blossoms and can’t wait to welcome the Sakura Fifteen to Italy in September to give our women the best possible test ahead of their first appearance in the WXV.”

JRFU President, Masato Tsuchida said:
“It’s a great honour to conclude this partnership with the Italian Rugby Federation. Italy’s men and women have shown their ability and strength at World Cups and in the Six Nations, and our Brave Blossoms and Sakura Fifteen will benefit greatly though regular competition against these strong Italian teams. While working together to strengthen and develop our national teams, we will also cooperate in a wide range of areas including coaching, developing our match officials, and improving player welfare. Together we will strive to develop our two associations as high-performance unions.”