Tokyo - A record number of people in Japan have applied to volunteer at next year's Rugby World Cup, with applicants outnumbering available spots by nearly four to one, organisers said on Monday.
Rugby still takes a backseat to baseball and football in Japan, and 2019's World Cup will be the first time the event is held in Asia.
But excitement about the event, and the Tokyo Olympics the following year, has been building, and World Cup organisers hailed the "phenomenal interest" in volunteer positions.
Over 38,000 people submitted applications for just 10 000 spots, organisers said in a statement.
"It represents a record as the largest number of volunteer applications and the largest volunteer workforce for any Rugby World Cup," they added.
"We are absolutely delighted with the incredible response," said 2019 organising committee president Akira Shimazu.
Japan will be the first country outside of rugby's traditional strongholds to host the World Cup.
It has been seen a strategic choice for World Rugby as it seeks new markets.
The tournament will run from September 20, 2019 until November 2, with matches being played across 12 host cities throughout Japan.