‘Singapore in Super Rugby 18 is a joke’

2014-07-09 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Japan coach Eddie Jones says it’s a joke that Singapore could be given a team in an expanded Super Rugby competition.

From 2018, the competition will feature 18 teams, with South Africa’s Southern Kings, an Argentine team and a yet-to-be-confirmed side added to the mix.

Recent reports indicated that Singapore has leapt to the front of the queue as the favourite to get the 18th franchise.

Jones, via a column on the Courier Mail website, said Japan should get the 18th franchise.

“It is a joke that Singapore is even being considered as the base for the 18th Super Rugby team when Japan ticks all the right boxes for forward thinking,” wrote Jones.

“Ruling body Sanzar will lose all credibility if Singapore is selected to serve South African interests with a less demanding travel load. If travel is the deciding factor, then Dubai should be selected and rugby ethos and history ignored altogether.

“Enough of that nonsense. Rugby has had a footprint in Japan since 1899 at Keio University in Tokyo and there are more than 100 000 players and 3 500 clubs in the country.

“Japan has become the first Asian nation to reach 10th in the world and the Rugby World Cup is heading here in 2019.

“I’m not being biased as Japan’s coach, but any smart organisation should see the value of promoting Japan as an expansion team in Super 18.

“But hang on. Through their TV rights clout, South Africa are pushing the Singapore bid where rugby is linked to the gin-and-tonic set at the Singapore Cricket Club and no players. They would play in a grand new stadium but every player in a ­Singapore-based team would be an import.”

Sanzar could make the announcement of the new team by September.

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