Japan, Singapore Confirmed By SANZAR As Top Candidates For Asia's Super Rugby License
Super Rugby organizer SANZAR has confirmed "their competition is set to expand into Asia with Japan and Singapore vying for the licence to run a team in 2016," according to the AFP. SANZAR said that the two countries "best met the criteria required to successfully operate a Super Rugby franchise." A decision will be made in September or October. SANZAR CEO Greg Peters said, "Asia is a region that has been the focus of considerable investment by the International Rugby Board in recent years and is a strategically sound location for the evolution of Super Rugby" (AFP, 7/17). In Sydney, Payten & Pandaram reported Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver said that bringing Japan into Super Rugby "makes the same sense for SANZAR as embracing Argentina." Pulver was "quick to point out that doesn't qualify as an Aussie endorsement." Pulver: "You can understand strategic rationale behind Japan, but not at any price. We are obviously pleased it is going to be an Asian team. To some extent we see the same sort of strategic intent that existed to bring Argentina exists to bring Japan in. But at the end of the day we need to wait until these two tenders come in and assess them from there" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 7/18).