Rob Abernethy has been handed a key World Cup 2019 role by World Rugby ©LinkedIn/Rob Abernethy

World Rugby has appointed Rob Abernethy as general manager for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

The Australian, who has experience working at the Sydney 2000 and London 2012 Olympic Games and a host of other major events, will be based full-time in Tokyo.

His job will see him oversee day-to-day management of the tournament organisers, ahead of the competition in three years' time.

He will be responsible for supporting and assisting the host union, the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) and the World Cup 2019 Organising Committee as they strive to "deliver a memorable event in accordance with World Rugby's requirements and all contractual obligations and agreed standards".

"I'm delighted to be joining the team that will deliver Asia's first Rugby World Cup," said Abernethy, a former swimmer who won bronze in the 50 metres freestyle at the 1993 short-course World Championships in Palma.

"There are exciting times ahead and I look forward to working collaboratively with the JRFU, Japan Rugby 2019 and all key stakeholders to assist in the delivery of a world-class tournament that will thrill and excite spectators and leave a lasting legacy for rugby in Japan."

The 2019 Rugby World Cup will be the first to be held in Asia ©Getty Images
The 2019 Rugby World Cup will be the first to be held in Asia ©Getty Images

Abernathy has worked in Asia for a number of years and is currently based in Singapore, where he is deputy managing director of the Singapore Sports Hub.

He has also worked at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and the Rugby World Cup in 2003 in Australia.

Tournament Director Alan Gilpin said: "Rugby World Cup 2019 promises to be a game-changing event for rugby. 

"It is the first time the tournament is being held in Asia and it presents an enormous opportunity for us to grow the game beyond its traditional heartlands.

"This role requires a proven ability to manage relationships with a wide range of people in a fast-paced and often challenging environment.

"Through the recruitment process, Rob showed himself to be an outstanding candidate with a proven track record of delivering world-class events against a demanding set of targets and objectives."

The World Cup in Japan is scheduled to run between September 20 and November 2 in 2019.