29 October 2015 at 9:00 am

Game On, in Japan

The New Zealand Embassy in Tokyo was the venue for a function on 30 September for high school rugby players who participated in the Game On English-Rugby (GOE Rugby) programme in New Zealand earlier this year, to share their experiences and celebrate their achievements.


Among the over 60 guests who attended the event, were New Zealand’s Ambassador to Japan, Mark Sinclair; Senior Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Shinichi Yamanaka; Vice President of the Japan Rugby Football Union, Masayuki Takashima; and Fonterra Japan President, Yasuhiro Saito.

Those GOE student participants who were present spoke, in English, of how fulfilling an experience it was, and of their desire to come back to New Zealand for further study.


Twelve male high school students from institutions that belong to Kanto Super League spent time in Hamilton from mid-July to early August this year, receiving high level rugby coaching care of the Waikato Rugby Union as well as undergoing an intensive English language programme at the University of Waikato Pathways College.

Ten female rugby players selected by the Japan Rugby Football Union spent time in Auckland in August, participating in a similar programme run by the Auckland Rugby Union and the New Zealand Language Centres.

Fonterra Japan sponsored the Hamilton programme while Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology provided financial support for the Auckland programme.

Both groups of students stayed with local families while in New Zealand.


GOE Rugby was launched by Prime Ministers Shinzō Abe and John Key in July 2014 in response to the Japanese government’s goal to improve the English language skills and increase the sporting capacity of Japan’s young people in the lead up to Japan’s hosting of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympics.

Led by English New Zealand in partnership with the Essentially Group, GOE Rugby includes five top provincial rugby unions and selected premium English language providers based in locations throughout New Zealand.

From November, the GOR Rugby will be available to high school groups from across Japan.

For more information on the details of the programme, please contact Misa Pitt, ENZ Japan.

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