Japan and Argentina Officially Enter Super Rugby

November 20, 2014

Super Rugby will officially expand to 18 teams from 2016 after SANZAR confirmed participation of teams from Japan and Argentina at an Executive Committee meeting in London today.

Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) and Union Argentina de Rugby (UAR) will compete in the tournament with confirmation in the final stages of formalities.

SANZAR Chief Executive Greg Peters said: “It gives us great pleasure to welcome the JRFU and UAR who will join the Kings from South Africa as Super Rugby prepares to expand into a bold and exciting new era.

“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.”

Tatsuzo Yabe, Chairman of the JRFU commented: “It is a great pleasure and honour to be able to announce the historical decision of Japan’s entry to Super Rugby.

“It is absolutely essential for us to participate in the competition as we move toward a successful Rugby World Cup here in 2019.

“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.

“We are also convinced that participating in Super Rugby will encourage greater interest in our domestic rugby and it will become a big dream and goal for those who play rugby in Japan – especially younger generations – to compete at this level.

“We believe that such positive development will be a driving force for Japan rugby to move forward on the world stage and we will continue to make every endeavour to be successful at this level as we look toward Super Rugby in 2016, the 2019 Rugby World Cup and beyond.”

Carlos Araujo, President of UAR added: “The entry of an Argentine franchise to Super Rugby will allow our sport to continue its growth, underpinned by participation in this great tournament which is something that fills us with joy and pride.

“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.

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