Singapore and Japan set to clash ahead of 2024 Touch World Cup

Sept. 14, 2023 @ 0:00 UTC

Singapore and Japan gear up for official FIT-sanctioned Test Matches ahead of 2024 Touch World Cup showdown at Nippon Steel Athletic Stadium, in Chiba Futtsu, Japan on 22 September, followed by friendly games on 23 September, 2023.

The anticipation is building as two Asian powerhouses in the sport of touch prepare to clash in a series of test matches that have received the official seal of approval from the Federation of International Touch (FIT). 

The Opens Men’s teams from Singapore and Japan, both gearing up for the 2024 Touch World Cup to be held in Nottingham next year, are set to engage in a high-stakes battle on September 22nd, followed by friendly games on September 23rd. The matches will be held at Nippon Steel Athletic Stadium, in Chiba Futtsu, Japan. 

Test Matches vs Friendly Games

FIT's recognition of these matches as official test matches underscores their significance. “It's a testament to the growing prominence of touch in the region and the commitment of Japan and Singapore to elevate their performance on the international stage,” said Peter Topp, Director of FIT

Clarification has been provided regarding the nature of the games on the two scheduled days. September 22nd will witness intense competition in official test matches, where both Japan and Singapore will be eager to assert their dominance and fine-tune their strategies. 

“In contrast, the friendly games on September 23rd offer an opportunity for a more relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere, where the focus may shift slightly from winning to camaraderie,” Peter said. 

The International Relations Director of the Japan Touch Association (JTA), Tohru Ogasawara, has played a pivotal role in coordinating these events. 

“Tohru’s dedication to ensuring smooth communications, logistics, and preparations highlights the meticulous planning that goes into organising such international sporting events,” Peter said. 

“As the date draws nearer, fans and players alike are looking forward to an exciting display of touch prowess between Singapore and Japan,” said Tohru.

“We always welcome and are honoured to have Asian National touch teams visiting Japan.

“These test matches with Singapore, who have visited Japan many times, means that the two nations continue the rivalry and friendship built over so many years.

“These matches against Singapore’s Men’s Open team mean a lot and are the first milestone for our Open Men’s on the road to Nottingham and the 2024 Touch World Cup.

“Japan Men’s Open aims to play their best against Singapore as they expect very close games.”

“We are excited to have Singapore in Japan and hope to have fantastic test series.”

Chris Hallewell, Singapore Touch President, concurred, “With the unfortunate cancellation of the Asia Touch Cup, this Men’s Open test series with Japan provides Singapore with an excellent challenge and barometer to establish where our competitive level stands against a team that excelled at the last World Cup. 

“With Japan also gaining recent experience in the Trans-Tasman Series, they offer us an ideal opponent to measure ourselves at this stage in our development cycle.””

According to Chris, Japan and Singapore have an excellent relationship. “We enjoy competing with one another. We have both had players living and working in one another’s countries, so there is lot of camaraderie and friendship between us, but once we hit the field it’s serious and both teams are fierce competitors. 

“We are probably a little behind in our cycle compared to Japan but as I say, this series offers us a great opportunity to benchmark ourselves and of course we’re going with the intention to win the series before we entertain Hong Kong in October and then we travel to Australia for the State Cups.

“On the back of this Men’s Open test series, we will be looking forward to welcoming four sides from Hong Kong for International friendlies in October across the Men’s & Women’s Open, Women’s Over 27’s and Men’s Over 30’s categories.”