Int'l Rugby Board Pushes To Have Japan In Super Rugby Before 2019 World Cup
The Int'l Rugby Board "has urged SANZAR to select Japan as the 18th team in the expanded Super Rugby competition to create momentum for the 2019 World Cup, which will be held in the country," according to Bret Harris of NEWS LIMITED. Super Rugby "will become an 18-team competition" in '16. A sixth South African side and an Argentinian franchise "are already approved for inclusion." The 18th team "is expected to come from Asia." Japan and Singapore, which has a new world-class sports hub, "are the frontrunners." IRB CEO Brett Gosper said that the world governing body "would prefer the Super Rugby licence to go to Japan." Gosper said, “Certainly anything that continues to gain momentum in Japan would be appealing for us. It is a strong market. It would create greater interest in the World Cup. It would build the competitiveness of some of the Japanese players who were in that team. It would provide interest for the fan base there. It would be good momentum towards the World Cup and eventually the Olympics where sevens will be played next time after Rio.” Meanwhile, Gosper said that the IRB "had rejected a SANZAR request to move the June Test window to July to allow Super Rugby to run uninterrupted before the internationals" (NEWS LIMITED, 6/13).