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Updated : January 29, 2021

Introduction of Olympic torchbearer 06

  Carrying the pride of rugby town, from the World Cup to the Olympics

【 Kumagaya city 】 Mr.Masami Horikoshi



Mr. Masami Horikoshi is a former rugby player representing Japan and currently supervises the seven-a-side women’s ruby team at Rissho University. He brings to life the rugby town of Kumagaya as a coach. He explains how he wants to bring the same excitement that took place in the Ruby World Cup hosted in Kumagaya through his run to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.


—What makes rugby appealing?

Rugby is a sport in which one’s position, role, and turn is made. The number of my uniform was 9, which gave me the position of scrum-half. There are various types of players such as myself who is short, with each player having an own role. Even if you are not a regular player within the team nor a star player, this is a sport in which everyone can contribute through analyzing the other team’s characteristics. If an individual strives to do his/her best, every player has a “position, role, and turn”. This can not only be applied to rugby, but to society as well and is very useful.

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—What is the difference between the Olympic sport, seven-a-side rugby, to those played 15-a side?

15-a-side rugby is played with 40-minute halves while seven-a-side rugby takes place with 7-minute halves. Further, the time interval between tournaments for 15-a-side rugby is a week, while seven-a-side rugby consists of 2 tournaments a day from time to time. With that being said, it requires players to make a quicker recovery during the intervals of tournaments for seven-a-side rugby. Moreover, the space in which the two games take place do not change, which means that each player must be more capable for seven-a-side rugby. The games develop at a quicker rate and has a characteristic of turnabouts.



—What is something you enjoy as you currently supervise the women’s rugby team? 

The women’s rugby was born when England, the birth town of rugby, was weakening. With the thought: “At this rate, the population of rugby players will not grow. In order to have the sport of rugby continued, we should have women play rugby as well.”, this has been planned out and put into action from 20 years ago. In the world of sports, the importance of gender equality has been coming to light these days, but rugby has had an attitude that has been a step ahead in terms of nationality and gender. In addition, regardless of gender, rugby is a sport played with devotion. Players who run away are quickly identified by the opponent and the spirit of players who fight are conveyed. There are players who used to play a different sport as well as female players who have played tag rugby, which is similar to the game of tag. There are players on “ARUKAS KUMAGAYA” aiming to be the representatives of Japan, so please keep an eye out.


—Lastly, please tell us what you are enthusiastic about regarding the torch relay!

I am honored to run the torch relay as the face of Kumagaya, a rugby town. Kumagaya is a strengthening foothold for seven-a-side rugby and there have been rumors that in 2021, the teams of the top league plan on creating new facilities. As a rugby town, Kumagaya is growing more and more and would like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to be the reason for people to know more about the different types of rugby: 15-a-side, seven-a-side, women’s rugby. As a torch bearer, I’d like to articulate Kumaya’s appeal as a rugby town and would like to bring with me the excitement of the Rugby World Cup to the Olympics.

Mr. Masami Horikoshi's recommendation


 Kumagaya Rugby Stadium

Ms. Yui 
Mr. Masato
Mr. Ian









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