Super Rugby
Super Rugby welcomes Japan to expanded tournament
ESPN Staff
November 20, 2014
Japan will play in the 2015 Rugby World Cup © Getty Images

Japan have officially joined Super Rugby and will have a franchise in the 2016 competition.

The team will be based in Tokyo but they will player three games a year in Singapore. Argentina have also had their place in the 2016 competition confirmed and SANZAR CEO Greg Peters was delighted to welcome the two countries to Super Rugby.

"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," Peters said. "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 Japan Rugby Football Union said: "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."

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