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Japan vs Russia, Rugby World Cup 2019: What time does the first game kick-off, what TV channel is it on and when is the opening ceremony?

Telegraph Sport
The Rugby World Cup in Japan begins of September 20 - AFP

What is it?

Hosts Japan face Russia in the opening game of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. 

When is it?

The tournament begins on Friday, September 20. 

What time is kick-off?

The curtain raiser gets under way at 11.45am British Summer Time, which is 7.45 pm local time. The game will be preceded by the tournament's opening ceremony. 

Where is it?

At the Tokyo Stadium in Japan's capital Tokyo. 

What TV channel is it on?

All 48 games will be shown live on ITV and ITV's online streaming services. Alternatively, you can follow all the action with our dedicated live blogs so bookmark this page and return on the opening day to ensure you do not miss out. 

What to expect from both teams

Japan and Russia are both in Pool A and along with Ireland, Scotland and Samoa and so are both considered rank outsiders the progress. 

The opening game of the tournament will be the biggest moment in Russia's fledgling history as a rugby nation. They are coached by Welshman Lyn Jones, but their 85-15 thrashing at the hands of Italy demonstrated how far they are from being competitive against Tier 1 opposition. 

Hosts Japan are on something of an island between Tier 1 and Tier 2, utterly dominant in the latter but not quite good enough to make an impression against the big boys. They are Pacific Nations Cup and with the benefit of home advantage will have ambitions to reach the last-eight.

What will the opening ceremony feature?

There are a series of individual welcome ceremonies across the country for each nation competing at the World Cup. 

Plans for the in-stadium ceremony in Tokyo have been kept secret, although it is expected that Japan's Air Self-Defence Force's Blue Impulse - their equivalent of the Red Arrows - will perform some aerial acrobatics above the stadium before the opening game. 

Blue Impulse were part of the opening ceremonies for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the 2002 football World Cup, co-hosted with South Korea. 

What are the odds?

  • Japan 1/100
  • Draw 100/1
  • Russia 40/1

What is our prediction?

Japan will give the home crowd something to cheer with a resounding victory: we're saying by a margin of 40 points or more.