IRB Postpones RWC qualifiers

Rugby World Cup qualifiers involving Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong have been postponed because of security fears in Sri Lanka, the International Rugby Board (IRB) said on Friday.

The International Rugby Board Executive Committee announced the postponement of the 2006 Asian Rugby Football Tournament that was scheduled to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on November 18-25. The decision was taken due to the current security situation in Sri Lanka.

As the governing body of the Game the IRB has wider obligations that require it to take into account security issues relating to participants. In this respect the IRB sought advice on the security situation in Sri Lanka following concerns expressed by several Participating Unions.

The recommendation made to the IRB was that in the present climate the tournament should not go ahead. The IRB and the Asian Rugby Football Union (the IRBs Regional Association in the region) will continue to monitor the situation and a decision on the rescheduling of the tournament will be made at an appropriate time

The 12-team tournament was to involve Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Arabian Gulf, Thailand, Chinese Taipei, India and China.

Furthermore, the Rugby World Cup Board has determined that the Asia Rugby World Cup 2007 Round 3 Qualification matches between Japan, Korea and Hong Kong that were due to be played as part of the Asian Rugby Football Tournament should be rescheduled.

The Rugby World Cup Board will make a decision in the coming days regarding alternative arrangements for the completion of the Asia Round 3 qualification matches.

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