Organisers of next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan have revealed that more than 4.5 million applications have been received this year as the first tickets for the tournament were allocated today following a public ballot.

Some 300,000 tickets are available for the tournament, which runs from September to November 2019. Fans who were successful with their application were notified by email today and have until December 5 to pay for their tickets.

Organisers said that in addition to the knockout stages, exceptional demand has been seen for pool matches featuring host nation Japan, world champions New Zealand, as well as Ireland and England.

The next opportunity for the general public to purchase tickets begins on January 19, when first-come-first-served ticket sales commence.

World Rugby chair Bill Beaumont said: “Rugby World Cup 2019 is shaping up to be a very popular, special and game-changing Rugby World Cup.

“The incredible demand for tickets demonstrates that Asia’s first Rugby World Cup has truly captured the imagination of fans around the world. It will be a tournament that has fans and teams at heart, celebrates rugby and Japan and will further the reach and growth of the sport across Asia and around the world.”

All future ticket sales will operate on a first-come-first-served basis, in real-time. Organisers are advising fans to utilise the availability indicator on the ticketing website to give themselves the best opportunity to secure tickets.

Over 40% of demand for tickets has come from outside Japan, meaning Rugby World Cup 2019 is on track to host the largest number of overseas visitors in the 30-year history of the tournament.

Japan Rugby World Cup 2019 organising committee CEO Akira Shimazu added: “The response from both Japanese and international rugby fans across the ballot phases has been truly amazing.”