31 Oct 2009

Tokyo and Osaka floated as Super Rugby bases

11:58 am on 31 October 2009

The future expansion plans of Super Rugby definitely lie in Japan as SANZAR looks to help grow the game - and the number of spectators and hence revenue - in Asia.

Australian Rugby boss John O'Neill says that Super Rugby franchises based in Tokyo and Osaka are on the cards to help boost rugby there in advance of the 2019 world cup, which Japan's hosting.

The Japanese teams would play in the Australia-New Zealand conference and O'Neill says having 30 to 40 of the best Japanese players playing in what SANZAR considers the toughest club rugby competition in the world over a 22-week period will improve the Japanese depth.

He hopes to get Japan up to the level where they make the final eight at their own World Cup,

O'Neill also maintains that SANZAR's strategic preference for extra Tests next year is in Asia and both Tokyo and Hong Kong are keen on another match.

An announcement should be made early next year.

But O'Neill also thinks 12 Tests a year is about right as opposed to the current 15.