Super Rugby
Asian franchise will struggle to survive
ESPN Staff
July 26, 2014
Could Singapore host a Super Rugby team? © Getty Images

The chairman of the Hong Kong Rugby Union Trevor Gregory fears a Super Rugby franchise in Asia will struggle without substantial financial support.

SANZAR, the body in charge of Super Rugby, recently announced the newly-expanded format for the southern hemisphere tournament will include an Asian franchise in time for the 2016 competition. At present, franchises from Singapore and Japan are gunning for the 18th spot and both bids have their merits.

Singapore recently hosted a Tens tournament in their new 50,000-seater stadium while Japan's Top League has seen some of the world's best players turn out for the franchised teams. For Japan coach Eddie Jones he feels Japan should be awarded the 18th spot but there is growing support for a Singapore franchise which is said to be built firmly on developing Pacific Island talent.

Regardless of where the SANZAR eventually awards the franchise, Gregory, who is also president of the Asian Rugby Football Union, fears it will be hard to keep it financially viable without a generous benefactor.

"I would say 'good luck' to them as I understand the commitment needs to be five years, and based on the recent example of the Melbourne Rebels, the cost of running a Super Rugby team is over A$20million a year," Gregory told the South China Morning Post. "Unless there is a specific benefactor who can derive such an amount of value out of pursuing this venture, I don't feel this is sustainable."

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