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Richie McCaw delivers Webb Ellis Cup as Japan 2019 opens in style

Against the backdrop of a Japanese festival rich in colour, complete with dazzling lights and lavish costumes, Rugby World Cup's opening ceremony captivated the crowd at Tokyo Stadium.

Combining ancient tradition and the modern world, it used symbolic Japanese cultural references, taking spectators on a journey from the dawn of time to the arrival of rugby in Japan, and the sport's big breakthrough in being hosted in Asia for the first time.

Surrounding an image of Mount Fuji in the middle of the field, the 20 participating teams were introduced by children holding flags of each country. Three-time winner New Zealand and Japan got the loudest cheers.

As the tournament's "World in Union" theme song was played, spectators clapped along as a light breeze blew around the sold-out stadium.

Former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw stood on a makeshift podium and held aloft the William Webb Ellis trophy as flames roared into the sky.

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The former All Blacks skipper was on hand as the tournament began in Tokyo. Source: Spark Sport RWC