Meet Ren-G: World Cup mascots who ward off evil and love to dance

Have you ever wondered what the outcome would be if you bottled the spirit of rugby, ran it through a laboratory and turned it into a life form?

No..? Well, if you have then Friday brought with it some good news as World Rugby revealed its mascots for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Ren and G -- or Ren-G to give them their official moniker -- are a parent and child combo of lion-like mythical creatures, or shishiare, who have been tasked with spreading the word around Japan, Asia and beyond ahead of the global jamboree.

Shishiare have been depicted in Japanese culture since ancient times and are particularly adept at bringing happiness while warding off evil.

What makes Ren-G so distinctive, though, is that they embody rugby's five core values -- integrity, passion, solidarity, discipline and respect. That, and they have their own dance that includes hair swinging.

Like all good professional wrestlers from the early 1990s, the exact year and location of the mascots' birth are unknown. But by a quirk of fate Ren shares his birthday with the tournament's opening ceremony [Sept. 20], while G was given life on Nov. 2 -- the date of the final.

Fans will be able to interact with Ren-G at all official World Cup stadiums and host cities next year and organisers have assured us the mythical creatures "await with open arms" the opportunity to welcome you to Japan.

Whether they will be as happy once their visitors have packed their bags and headed for home, only time will tell.