TOKYO, Oct 16 (Reuters) - With Japan reaching the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals for the first time fans are scrambling to get their hands on official merchandise but such is the popularity of Brave Blossoms jerseys that demand far outstrips supply.
World Rugby have said more than 200,000 have been sold so far, leaving many fans disappointed at the main Japan 2019 megastore in Tokyo.
“The Japanese jerseys are just selling like crazy,” said store manager Danny Robinson on Wednesday.
“We have taken them from the stadiums, as what hasn’t sold at the stadiums is coming back here, we have totally cleaned out Canterbury’s warehouse and we are getting them whenever we can but unfortunately it looks like most of the Japanese jerseys in Japan are sold out.”
Japan won all four of their Pool A matches, including victories over top-tier nations Ireland and Scotland, on the way to topping the group and setting up a quarter-final against twice champions South Africa.
Robinson said that Japanese fans were spending an average of 13,000 JPY ($119.64) on goods when they came into the store.
“If we get a shipment in, we get maybe 200 on the shelf and then suddenly they are gone within two hours, three hours maximum,” he added.
“We have people lining up at the door when they know Japanese jerseys are here.”
Those that fail to get the jerseys are turning their attention to other Brave Blossoms merchandise — only to come up empty handed.
“They didn’t have a tote bag. I wanted to buy a towel or pillow but they said they don’t have them either,” said 43-year-old Kumiko Ikegaya.
“I am happy that they advanced to the last eight, but honestly I wish they had more goods here.”
Fans are coming to the megastore from far and wide just to pick up some memorabilia. Yoko Inoue arrived from Morioka, 500km to the north of Tokyo.
“I really didn’t know about the game of rugby, but it has become a sport which has ignited the whole nation,” said Inoue.
“I really wanted to come here when my daughter told me that there is a merchandise store.”
Japan will face South Africa in Tokyo on Sunday. ($1 = 108.6600 yen) (Sdditional reporting by Yoko Kono; editing by Peter Rutherford)