International media rights agency IEC in Sports has signed two separate deals with the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) and the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) which will see it distribute rights for the Asian 5 Nations and for upcoming Japan test matches with Samoa and Italy.
IEC in Sports has a long-standing relationship with ARFU, now entering its seventh year, to distribute rights for the Asian 5 Nations which this year offers the winner an automatic spot at Rugby World Cup 2015.
This year's tournament is already underway and is scheduled to run until May 25.
Japan have won the Asian 5 Nations every year since it was first introduced in 2008 and they are two-from-two so far in 2014 with victories over Philippines and Sri Lanka.
Hong Kong and South Korea are the other two nations competing in the event this year.
"Rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in Asia and it is with pleasure that ARFU and IEC in Sports can continue to their long standing partnership regarding the ARFU Asian 5 Nations," said Karl Samuelsson, managing director of IEC in Sports in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.
"The 2014 ARFU Asian 5 Nations will prove to be as exciting as ever with to reigning champions Japan taking on South Korea, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and the Philippines."
IEC in Sports, which is owned by Lagardère Unlimited, has rights deals already in place with the World Club 7's and the Japan Top League.
Commenting on the new agreement, ARFU President Trevor Gregory, said: "The Asian Rugby Football Union is pleased to once again team up with IEC in Sports to distribute Asia's premier international men's rugby tournament, the Asian 5 Nations, internationally.
"The 2014 edition will be more interesting than ever, as it serves as the final qualifying tournament for the 2015 IRB Rugby World Cup.
"The winner of this year's A5N will qualify directly for next year's World Cup.
"This will ensure added focus and intensity from the participating teams and guarantees some very competitive matches."
The firm has also announced a deal that will see it distribute media rights for Japan's test matches against Samoa and Italy later this year.
J SPORTS Corporation holds the global media rights to Japanese test matches but under the new deal, IEC in Sports will distribute worldwide media rights, excluding Japan, for the first test against Samoa on May 30 and excluding Japan and Italy for the second test match against the Italians on June 21.
"IEC in Sports is very proud to once again be trusted by JRFU and J SPORTS to handle the distribution of the Japanese test matches," added Samuelsson.
"Japan is going from strength to strength on the international scene and it will be very interesting to follow the development of Japanese rugby leading up to the IRB Rugby World Cup in 2019."
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