Ceremony held to mark 2 years before 2019 Rugby World Cup

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Workers put a protective cover over the Webb Ellis Cup which is displayed at a promotional event for the 2019 Rugby World Cup at Shibuya district in Tokyo.

Workers put a protective cover over the Webb Ellis Cup which is displayed at a promotional event for the 2019 Rugby World Cup at Shibuya district in Tokyo. (Photo: AP)

TOKYO (AP) — Sports fans gathered in Tokyo's Shibuya entertainment district on Wednesday to mark two years until Japan hosts the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the first time the tournament will be held outside the traditional rugby-playing countries.

Rugby World Cup tournament director Alan Gilpin unveiled the Webb Ellis Cup, saying "this vibrant and special nation will be the center of the sporting universe for an amazing six weeks."

To promote the tournament, the trophy, which is awarded to the winning team, will make a 46-day tour of the host nation.

On Sunday, Gilpin told local organizers that their preparations are not progressing as smoothly as they should. He specifically pointed out a lack of progress with training venues.

On Nov. 2, venues for the 48 games in 12 cities will be announced.

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