Japan, Argentina expand Super Rugby tally to 18 nations

2014-11-21 00:00

JAPAN and Argentina are officially the newest teams on the Super Rugby block.

From 2016 onwards, the two nations will battle it out in what will be the expanded 18-team competition, Sanzar confirmed yesterday.

Both teams will appear in the South African conference after a Sanzar executive committee confirmed their inclusion at a meeting held in London.

Singapore is set to host three of the Japanese team’s home fixtures to alleviate the travelling strains on the South African teams. Singapore is a shorter flight than travelling from South Africa to Sydney, while a trip to Japan’s home base in Tokyo would take more than 24 hours.

In addition, the EP Kings will also rejoin the competition, taking the number of South African teams competing up to six.

“This is an exciting departure for Sanzar and one that ticks the boxes of South African rugby,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of South African Rugby Union.

“We will have six entrants to the competition in 2016 and will have the pleasure of hosting the new entrants from Japan and Argentina while we have a good solution to the issue of what would have been extended travel time to Tokyo.”

Sanzar chief executive Greg Peters also agreed the inclusion of Japan and Argentina would improve the level of the tournament.

“As Top 10 ranked rugby nations with established high performance level leagues and over 100 000 players each, there is no doubt as to Japan and Argentina’s rugby readiness and passion for the sport.

“With a heritage stretching back some 115 years, Japan also offers tremendous infrastructure and an active fan base that we view as pivotal to the ongoing sustainability of the team.

“Japan has also been the focus of strategic investment by the International Rugby Board (now World Rugby) and we view the region as a high growth, high potential sports and economic market with the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the 2020 Olympic Games and now Super Rugby on the imminent horizon.”

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