To coincide with the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the University of Queensland Rugby Football Club (UQRFC) recently sent three teams to Japan to play against teams from a number of Japanese universities, from16 September to 2 October.

The touring party comprised more than 55 persons and included two mens’ teams, a ladies 7s team and managerial personnel. As part of the Japanese tour, on 28 September the three teams from UQRFC played Toyo University Rugby Club, based in Saitama.

The games in Saitama were organised to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Queensland Saitama Sister State relationship; and were a precursor to the Saitama Government’s trade mission to Queensland in October 2019. Coincidentally, for UQRFC, the Toyo University matches also represented the Club’s 60th overseas set of fixtures. UQRFC has a long and proud history of touring various countries around the world, with the next destination likely to be South Africa in 2021.

The matches in Saitama between UQRFC and Toyo University were a great success. A very warm and well-attended after-match function was kindly organised by Toyo University for the UQRFC touring party and all persons gathered on the day. The after-match function culminated in more than 120 people from the teams, university and government officials and spectators sitting down together to watch and then celebrate the Brave Blossoms victory over Ireland in pool rounds of the Rugby World Cup. It was an amazing experience to witness the passion Japan has for its national rugby team.

Post-tour ,senior representatives from both UQRFC and Toyo University Rugby Club met again in Brisbane as part of the Saitama Government’s trade mission to Queensland and on 16 October signed an MOU to facilitate greater cooperation and exchange of information between the two clubs in relation to rugby.

The tour and signing of the MOU marks the start of an exciting relationship between the two rugby clubs which will no doubt present many future opportunities.

The Japan tour followed UQRFC Premier Grade’s recent win in the Brisbane Premier Grade competition; and from the womens’ perspective was a precursor to UQRFC women’s 7s team win in the 2019 Aon Uni 7s Series. Their 2019 win in the Aon Uni 7s tournament was UQRFC’s second win of the tournament in three years.

The Australia Japan Society – Queensland wishes the UQRFC and Toyo University all the very best with their MOU activities and future cooperation.