Super Rugby expands to include Argentina, Japan
Super Rugby's expansion to 18 teams has been confirmed for 2016.
JOHANNESBURG - Super Rugby's expansion to 18 teams has been confirmed for 2016 with South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby (Sanzar) formally confirming the involvement of the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) and Union Argentina de Rugby (UAR) at an executive committee meeting in London today.
The confirmation is the final stage of formalities and paves the way for the Tokyo and Buenos Aires-based franchises to start contracting players and staff ahead of their historic entry to Super Rugby in a little over 12 months from now.
Sanzar Chief Executive Greg Peters said, "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."
Tatsuzo Yabe, Chairman of the JRFU said, "Joining the world's highest international league is a challenge that will require significant transformation and tremendous efforts by us. However, it will certainly bring innovation to not only Japan, but also the Asian region as a whole."
The JRFU has also forged a relationship with the Singapore Rugby Union and Singapore Sports Hub that will see the state-of-the-art venue host three games per year, delivering Super Rugby to new Asian audiences.
Carlos Araujo, President of UAR said, "We now face a huge challenge both on the sporting and organisational fronts. Ahead of us we have six very enjoyable years, first with Rugby World Cup and then this opportunity to enjoy our teams in the Southern Hemisphere elite, playing in Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship."