Argentina’s new Super Rugby franchise will be called Los Jaguares (Jaguars).
The team will play be in the 2nd African conference, alongside the Cell C Sharks, Emirates Lions and Southern Kings.
To play Test rugby for Argentina, players have to be contracted by the UAR and be available to play Super Rugby.
The Jaguars’ 1st match will be against the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Friday 26 February 2016.
Springbok hooker Adriaan Strauss has been named as captain of the Vodacom Bulls for the 2016 Vodacom Super Rugby season, the team annnounced on Monday. Another international star, Springbok flyhalf Handré Pollard, will be vice-captain for the season.
Strauss, a Super Rugby centurion (118 appearances) is no stranger to a leadership role at this level, having captained the Toyota Cheetahs for a number of seasons and according to the Vodacom Bulls Super Rugby coach, Nollis Marais, is a perfect fit for his team.
“Adriaan ticks all the boxes. He has vast experience at Super Rugby level, has played 54 Tests for the Springboks, where he is part of the leadership group and represents what we stand for as Bulls. His leadership style is great, as is his ability to rally players around him. He is also one of the top hookers in world rugby and even opponents will look up to his presence on the field,” Marais explained.
Cell C Sharks director of rugby, Gary Gold, believes Robert du Preez (snr) will give his team an extra edge on attack in next year’s Super Rugby competition.
Former Springbok scrumhalf Du Preez is no stranger to Sharks rugby, having been a key member during the successes of the famous ‘Team of the 90s’ and he not only brings new ideas and experience, but the passion for the team, having represented the Sharks in 63 matches between 1992 and 1998 – during which 3 Currie Cup titles were won.
He will share the skills and attack coaching duties with Sean Everitt.
New Zealand’s Super Rugby franchise the Crusaders have confirmed that Fijian Rugby World Cup winger Nemani Nadolo will not be extending his contract with the Christchurch team next season.
Nadolo has agreed to play his rugby in France for French club Montpellier after the 2016 Super Rugby season.
Fijian winger Nadolo was raised in Brisbane Australia and has had playing stints in the UK, France, Australia and Japan but his career only really took off when he joined the Crusaders.
Nadolo is now 1 of the hottest wingers in World Rugby but it was not long ago that he was with the Waratahs and was unable to make the match day team.
The winger left Sydney and played for Bourgoin between 2010 and 2011 before joining Japan’s NEC Green Rocket where he was brought to the attention of Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder.
Eastern Province rugby clubs plan to call a special general meeting to pass a motion of no-confidence in EPRU president Cheeky Watson.
According to reports, Watson was set to be served a motion of no confidence at the union’s annual general meeting last Friday, but the meeting was controversially postponed.
One club’s president said that in order to pass the motion of no confidence in Watson, 36 of the union’s clubs (20%) need to sign up.
He said that target would be easy to achieve and they would push to have the meeting as soon as possible.
PUMA the official technical and apparel partner of the Vodacom Bulls has unveiled 3 new Super Rugby kits, inspired by the stars.
Nicknamed the Stellar Kit, this season sees the introduction of a signature Black kit – brought to life with an orange and red ombrè effect across the front of the jersey, a traditional Blue kit and a re-appearance of the popular Pink kit. The Vodacom Bulls will take to the field in the specially designed pink kit for one of their home games to show their support of CANSA (Cancer Association of South Africa) and those persevering in the fight against cancer.
PUMA South Africa’s Marketing Director, Brett Bellinger says there is something for everyone in the new kits which feature a Bull imprinted across the front with reflective material embellishments.
John Mitchell appears the firm favourite to become the DHL Stormers head coach, after meeting with Western Province rugby bosses on Tuesday.
According to reports, Mitchell was in the Mother City to discuss details of what is believed to be a 4-year deal with the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) and the Stormers.
The former All Blacks, Western Force and Golden Lions coach earlier this year turned down a job offer from the DHL Stormers.
In June, Mitchell said: “An approach was made to me and there were negotiations, but unfortunately Gert Smal is only contracted as Western Province Director of Rugby for another 2 years, so there were no guarantees for me beyond that period.
“Had I been offered a 4-year deal, it would have been different. But I have travelled around the world a lot to pursue my career as a coach and didn’t want to uproot my family again for the promise of just 2 years. I didn’t want to commute either, as I believe you have to be fully immersed in a culture to be effective as a coach.”
New SANZAR CEO Andy Marinos has backed South Africa’s Southern Kings and Japan’s Sunwolves to cause upsets in Super Rugby 2016.
The Southern Kings have at least played a season of Super Rugby before, while the Sunwolves are making their debut as the competition expands to accommodate a side each from Japan and Argentina as well as an extra South African side.
The EP Kings’ serious financial troubles over the past few months have raised questions over their fanchise participation in the competition, but the Sunwolves have not yet named a head coach for the season while they also do not have a full player roster.
But Marinos was a voice of calm on Wednesday morning, backing the Japanese franchise to get their ducks in a row before the tournament begins at the end of February.
All the Lions’ Currie Cup heroes except for Kwagga Smith, who is contracted for National Sevens duty, have been retained for Super Rugby while 9 other stalwarts have strengthened the squad.
Flanker Derick Minnie returns after a long injury lay-off and winger Ruan Combrink and centre Harold Vorster have also been added to the Super Rugby group after missing some Currie Cup action due to injury.
Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies, centre Lionel Mapoe and hooker Akker van der Merwe, as well as Warrick Tecklenburg will return from overseas duty.
The new squad members are former Steval Pumas scrumhalf Faf de Klerk, Leopards No 9 Dillon Smit, Leopards lock Robert Kruger and Pumas prop Corné Fourie, who are all full-blooded Lions now.
Scrumhalf Faf de Klerk has signed a contract with the Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) which will see him based permanently in Johannesburg. De Klerk, 24, was a shining light for the Emirates Lions during this year’s Super Rugby competition but because he was still contracted to the Steval Pumas, he had to return to Nelspruit for the Currie Cup season. However, the GLRU on Wednesday confirmed that the scrumhalf has signed a deal which means he will also be available for Currie Cup duty.
Steval Pumas fullback JW Bell is the only new face who hasn’t donned the Lions jersey yet.
It looks like the DHL Stormers should soon be in position to unveil their new coach to replace England bound Eddie Jones, with John Mitchell reportedly having met with Western Province officials in Cape Town late on Tuesday.
The former All Black coach is the only person who fits the requirements laid out last week by WP director of rugby Gert Smal last week – namely that the new coach preferably have an overseas slant to his coaching, have coached international rugby, have coached Super Rugby for at least seven seasons and have experience and knowledge of the South African rugby culture.
When asked about the meeting on Wednesday morning, all Mitchell could say was that he’d had fruitful discussions and that WP had been very professional in the way they had formulated their approach. However Mitchell was not at liberty to divulge further details and he has not signed on the dotted line, so negotiations appear to be ongoing.
The Reds have confirmed a 37-man senior squad for the 2016 Super Rugby season, with 8 fresh faces in total joining the ranks at Ballymore.
In addition to the high-profile signings of Kane Douglas, Ayumu Goromaru, Cadeyrn Neville and NRL winger Eto Nabuli – the Reds also spent the off-season promoting from within the ranks of Queensland Rugby’s pathways with flyhalf Sam Greene and outside backs Junior Laloifi and Izaia Perese earning contracts following their performances in Queensland Premier Rugby and the National Rugby Championship (NRC). They are joined by Australian Under 20 lock Lukhan Tui, who grew up in Sydney.
In all, 20 players were retained from the 2015 Super Rugby squad, 11 of which were off contract and re-signed with the Reds, including Liam Gill, Greg Holmes, James Slipper and Rob Simmons.
In addition to that, the Reds have further progressed the careers of 8 members of its Elite Development Squad, promoting them to the Reds Senior Squad for the 2016 season.
The Crusaders have announced that Todd Blackadder will step aside as head coach at the conclusion of the 2016 Super Rugby season.
“This will be my 8th season coaching the Crusaders, and every minute in the role has been a privilege, but moving on at the end of the 2016 season is the right thing for me and the right thing for the team,” Blackadder said.
“I have been so fortunate to be able to do my dream job for all of these years, but 8 years is a relatively long time in coaching and I feel that the time is right for someone else to take the reins and lead the team in their own direction in the future.
“One of the important things to come out of our 2015 season review is that distractions were a problem for us last season, so that is why I was keen to make my intentions clear before the season begins to avoid my future becoming a distraction for the team during the 2016 season,” Blackadder said.
Blackadder took over from Robbie Deans as head coach of the Crusaders in 2009. He has coached the team to 4 Super Rugby Semifinals and 2 Finals so far, and the final against the Waratahs in 2014 marked his 100th game in the Crusaders’ top job.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has established an operational implementation task group to oversee the running of the Southern Kings franchise in Vodacom Super Rugby, SARU announced on Monday.
The group will meet in Cape Town on Wednesday to put in place the structures and processes required to take control of the running of the Southern Kings.
“We will be leaning heavily on EPRU personnel in this implementation process in due course and they are providing us with certain documentation to determine the current landscape at the franchise,” said Jurie Roux, SARU CEO.
Eddie Jones will most likely not be coming back to Cape Town to assist the DHL Stormers in their pre-season preparation work, but he will be in Los Angelos this week.
Newly appointed England coach Jones will be addressing a World Rugby workshop on the success of the Japan team at the Rugby World Cup, who won 3 games despite failing to make the play-offs under his guidance.
Jones was unveiled as the new DHL Stormers coach earlier this month, before being made an offer he could not refuse by the English RFU which saw him leave Cape Town after just 2 weeks.
Stormers director of rugby, Gert Smal, claimed that Jones would return to Cape Town in December to assist with the planning for next season, explaining that the experienced coach felt bad for the way things had transpired with the Stormers.
The Vodacom Bulls are hard at work in preparation for the Vodacom Super Rugby season next year, with some new faces amongst the regular squad members.
New Vodacom Bulls player Lizo Gqoboka has settled in well amongst his team mates and is working hard with the rest of the Vodacom Super Rugby squad assembled in Pretoria. Winger Luther Obi will join the squad on Wednesday as the Bulls step up preparations at Loftus Versfeld for next year’s extended Vodacom Super Rugby competition, where the Vodacom Bulls are working hard to achieve success in 2016.
A number of injured players will join the fray as they complete rehabilitation, while those playing club rugby in Japan will return during the course of January 2016. The 5 returning from Japan are Grant Hattingh, Handré Pollard, JJ Engelbrecht, Bjorn Basson and Jesse Kriel.
The injured players (with date of return in brackets) are Deon Stegmann, Jannes Kirsten, Nick de Jager and Travis Ismaiel (all December), Irne Herbst, Morné Mellett, Jaco Visagie, Roelof Smit, Ruan Steenkamp, Hanro Liebenberg, Piet van Zyl, Dries Swanepoel and Warrick Gelant (January) and Callie Visagie (February).
SANZAR has appointed Andy Marinos as the organisation’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
His new job will formally commence on 1 January 2016 and he replaces Greg Peters – who is taking over as CEO of the new Argentina Super Rugby team.
The South African, who is no stranger to the position, having previously served as CEO between 2008 – 2010, brings a wealth of business and rugby experience to the role, both as an administrator and professional player.
Marinos re-joins SANZAR from SARU, where he has served as General Manager of Commercial & Marketing for the past 5 years, in addition to SARU Acting Managing Director and Board Member (2008 – 2010), Springbok Team Manager (2008), Manager of South African National Teams (2005 – 2010) and World Rugby Sevens Advisory Group (2008 – 2015).
Die Pumas van Suid-Afrika het so byna by die Superrugby-agterdeur ingeglip, maar dié unie se plan om die OP-Kings se plek in volgende jaar se kompetisie te “kaap”, is ter elfder ure deur Cheeky Watson gefnuik.
Rapport het na bewering betroubaar verneem dat Hein Mentz, die Pumas se president, ’n volledige sakeplan aan die Suid-Afrikaanse Rugbyunie (SARU) voorgelê het, waarin hulle aanbied om die Oos-Kapenaars, wat reeds maande lank verlam is deur ’n geldkrisis, in 2016 se toernooi te vervang.
Dié plan sou die Kings “tyd gee om hul geldsake uit te sorteer” en dié franchise terug op die been te kry.
Dít het onder meer ’n groot borgskap en beloftes van geleenthede vir spesifiek swart spelers bevat en het glo die steun van die Mpumalanga-regering gehad.
After the DHL Stormers confirmed the hasty exit of Eddie Jones on Friday, we now look at potential candidates to take over the head coaching role at the Cape franchise.
The candidates are:
- John Mitchell
- Gert Smal
- John Dobson
- John Plumtree
- Nick Mallett
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has broken new ground by establishing a Rugby Education Foundation to support exciting, predominantly black young talent in Rugby Academies around the country.
Springboks Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane and Jan Serfontein will be in attendance with SARU Deputy President, Mr Mark Alexander, and former Springbok prop and EP Academy Manager, Robbie Kempson, when the plan is launched in Johannesburg next week.
Corporate SA is being invited to partner in the initiative which has a fundamental educational component to prepare young players for a post-rugby career. The new Foundation will support plans to expand the tertiary education component at the Academies in Border, Eastern Province, South Western Districts and Boland.
It’s official, DHL Stormers head coach for an ever so brief spell, Eddie Jones (which included no games and lasted only from 1 November to 18 November 2015, after being introduced to the SA Media on 12 November) is now the new England head coach!
The RFU have revealed that they have appointed Eddie Jones on a 4-year contract, starting in December 2015 and he will take charge of his 1st international game with England when they meet Scotland in the RBS 6 Nations at Murrayfield on 6 February 2016.
The amount the RFU had to pay to Western Province for Eddie Jones’ release is still the subject of wild speculation and varies between rumours of £ 100 000.00 (R 2.1 Million) to £ 350 000.00 ( R 7.5 Million) and even up to £ 700 000.00 (R 15 Million).
Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) have issued the following media release:
WPRFU President Mr Thelo Wakefield and WP Director of Rugby Gert Smal will host a top table press conference at DHL NEWLANDS on Friday 20 November at 11:00 SA Time.
Western Province Rugby has agreed terms with the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) which will see Eddie Jones depart to take on an international coaching post with England.
There has been plenty of speculation about Jones’s future ever since his arrival in Cape Town earlier this month and he officially received an offer on Wednesday of this week which proved impossible to turn down.
With Eddie Jones now in London and appointed as the new England coach, the DHL Stormers director of rugby Gert Smal needs to do what he failed to do earlier in the year by making John Mitchell a serious offer.
The former All Black coach was targeted by the Stormers earlier in the year, and the approach to him preceded that made to former Sharks coach and fellow Kiwi John Plumtree. However, Mitchell was only offered a 2 year deal and Mitchell said at the time that the figures didn’t turn his head either.
Mitchell, who has become a successful chief executive in the business world over the past 2 years, said he would have needed a longer contract, more like 4 years, in order to be interested. The negotiations broke down after he communicated that view to Smal.
Jones though was offered a 3 year contract with the option of a year extension, which effectively meant 4 years, so it is difficult to see any reason now why Smal can’t do the same for Mitchell, particularly as the pay-out from the RFU to Western Province should be a substantial one.
With Jones out of the picture, Mitchell says he would definitely be interested in working as Stormers head coach under Smal were the union to make him a realistic offer.
The Cell C Sharks on Thursday unveiled their provisional Super Rugby training squad ahead of the 2016 season.
As expected, lock Ruan Botha joins from the Stormers on a 2-year deal to soften the blow of Pieter-Steph du Toit moving the other way.
“Ruan is a young player with a bright future ahead of him. He was part of the SA Under 20 squad that won the IRB Junior Championship in 2012 and we look forward to his progress in the black and white jersey,” Sharks director of rugby Gary Gold told the franchise’s website.
“This squad will be re-looked at in the New Year, when our other squad members return.”
There are another 9 players currently undergoing rehab for various injuries, while 6 have been released including flyhalf Lionel Cronje, lock Marco Wentzel and centre Waylon Murray.
EP Rugby President, Cheeky Watson, held a media conference at the EP Rugby offices on Wednesday afternoon as financial issues continue to plague the union.
“This has never been about Cheeky Watson, it is about the Kings, it has always been about the Kings,” said Watson.
Watson said it was important to take note of the press release from SA Rugby issued on Tuesday 17 November 2015.
“There has always been a Plan B; I put the call in to SARU to come and bring stability, so that we can stop hemorrhaging players and focus on our preparations for Super Rugby,” he said.
Watson said he was constantly engaging with SA Rugby, including Rugby boss, Oregan Hoskins, and that the details around the implementation of the assistance still needed to be fleshed out.
“The cash flow crisis we have experienced is like a Greek tragedy. We want to thank SARU for stepping in to assist and we welcome whatever contributions they bring,” he said.
Watson said part of the intervention envisioned was to have members of the SARU mobi-unit come down to assist in support roles and bolster the Southern Kings coaching staff.
The Cell C Sharks are set to announce their pre-season Super Rugby squad on Thursday – and the name Ruan Botha will appear on that list.
The 23-year-old Stormers lock is set for a move to Durban, while Springbok Pieter-Steph du Toit has moved from the Sharks to Newlands.
A Sharks spokesperson on Wednesday said that the deal between the union and Botha could not yet be officially confirmed due to a contract that still had to be signed.
However, the indication was that all of the paperwork would be wrapped up by Thursday.
UK bookmakers have stopped taking bets on newly appointed DHL Stormers coach Eddie Jones replacing fired Stuart Lancaster as supremo of the England rugby team. They are so convinced Jones will leave Newlands for Twickenham that betting on him doing so has been suspended.
But the Australian who guided Japan to rugby’s great giant killing act over the Springboks won’t come cheap. In the Times of London this morning, SA billionaire Johann Rupert says extracting Jones from his contract with the DHL Stormers will cost the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) R 15 Million (£ 700 000.00).
Richemont chairman Rupert, co-owner of the DHL Stormers through the 25% owned by 1 of his businesses, told the newspaper: “We have no influence” and confirmed the Cape-based franchise would not engage in a bidding war over the recently hired head coach.
In September, Eddie Jones signed a R 5 Million a year deal with the DHL Stormers which runs until the end of 2018. That made him the highest paid coach in South African rugby, ahead of Heyneke Meyer who guided the Springboks to 3rd in the recent Rugby World Cup.
Australian James Hilterbrand, a hooker currently playing for Edinburgh in European competitions, headlines a list of 9 new signings by the Southern Kings.
This was announced on Monday, a day that another 2 players – wing Luther Obi and utility back Sylvian Mahuza – have given notice of their intent to leave the Kings, the Port Elizabeth-based franchised announced the list of new recruits.
Apart from Hilterbrand, who played 2 games for the Western Force in 2013 and 14 games for Edinburgh since joining them for the 2013 / 2014 season, they have signed a number of high-profile players.
These include duo Jurgen Visser and Louis Fouché (Vodacom Bulls), Caylib Oosthuizen (Toyota Cheetahs), SP Marais (Cell C Sharks), Stefan Watermeyer and JC Roos (Steval Pumas), Mark Richards (Emirates Lions) and Carel Greeff (ORC Griquas).
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Tuesday agreed to assist the Eastern Province Rugby Union by taking control of the Southern Kings franchise in Vodacom Super Rugby.
The action followed through a decision taken by the Executive Council of SARU some weeks ago to step into the Kings’ affairs if certain expectations were not realised.
The decision was actioned as a result of the on-going cash flow problems at the Union after the president of EP, Mr Cheeky Watson, contacted Mr Oregan Hoskins, the president of SARU, to ask him to assist.
“We gave the Kings as long as possible to resolve their issues through their own efforts but the point had been reached where they could wait no longer,” said Mr Oregan Hoskins, president of SARU.
“It is a decision we have had to take reluctantly but it is now 102 days until Vodacom Super Rugby moves into a new era with new teams and new nations taking part and we collectively agreed we could not allow South Africa’s new entrant to be under-prepared.”
Cell C Sharks Director Of Rugby, Gary Gold, has announced the 4 coaches that will be assisting him in next year’s Super Rugby competition.
Former UKZN Impi coach Ryan Strudwick will be in charge of the forwards. Strudwick’s Impi side were crowned Varsity Shield champions earlier this year when they beat Wits in the Final. He also previously coached Maritzburg College.
Strudwick also assisted Gold during this year’s Currie Cup campaign. He has been involved with the Sharks at Under 19 and Under 20 level as well.
Former Springbok and Sharks scrumhalf Robert du Preez will be the team’s skills and attack coach – a role he shares with Sean Everitt. Du Preez also won the ABSA Currie Cup First Division trophy with the Leopards this year. The North West team went through the entire tournament unbeaten.
He also guided NWU-Pukke to two Varsity Cup finals – one of which was this year’s 33 / 63 loss to UFS Shimlas. Pukke lost to UCT in the final in 2014.
Du Preez will also be coaching his sons Dan and Jean-Luc who are part of the Cell C Sharks squad.
Omar Mouneimne joins from the Steval Pumas and will be the team’s defence coach. He was also part of the Eastern Province Kings coaching setup and also had coaching stints in Edinburgh and Italy.
Amongst the Super Rugby news this week is the announcement that Tanerau Latimer will return to Super Rugby and join up with the Blues.
Lima Sopoaga has also extended his stay at the Highlanders.
Meanwhile the Brumbies will lose Matt Toomua to Leicester Tigers when the European season of 2016 / 2017 starts after Super Rugby of 2016, but therefore he will still be available for the Brumbies in 2016. The Brumbies have also signed hooker Robbie Abel with the Brumbies’ Extended Playing Squad for 2016.
Double Rugby World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw is expected to confirm his decision to retire from rugby this week, New Zealand media reported on Sunday.
McCaw, who turns 35 on 31 December, led the All Blacks to their 3rd Rugby World Cup triumph 2 weeks ago when his side beat trans-Tasman rivals Australia 34 / 17 in the final at a packed Twickenham stadium in London.
The All Blacks were the 1st team to retain the trophy, after the openside flanker led the team to victory in 2011 while playing with a broken foot.
McCaw had done little to dampen expectations that he would retire after this year’s Rugby World Cup, though never explicitly said he would, preferring to state he would not make up his mind until the global showpiece ended.
He was not named last month in the Canterbury Super Rugby squad for 2016 though New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and the Crusaders said there was space for him if he chose to play on.
The Vodacom Bulls have capitalised on the growing uncertainty surrounding the EP Kings as they signed impressive prop Lizo Gqoboka for the next few years to bolster their Super Rugby squad.
Gqoboka gave notice at the Kings after repeated non-payment of salaries at the franchise, and the Bulls swooped in to offer him a new home for the foreseeable future.
And there may well be more news in the next 48 hours as the Bulls are still after the signatures of 3 other EP Kings players – loose forwards Tim Agaba and Thembelani Bholi and winger Luther Obi. Some big decisions will be made as to their futures soon.
Gqoboka has been rated as 1 of the strongest props by the Springbok management team, who tried in vain to get him to play Super Rugby this year, after he was ignored by the franchises for the 2015 season.
But with SARU’s transformation action plan likely to be implemented much more stringently in the future, the Bulls have been pro-active in searching for good black talent to bolster their Super Rugby ranks for the coming year.
The Eastern Province Rugby Union is working tirelessly behind the scenes to address the issue of non-payment of players.
The union on Thursday confirmed that neither of the Kings’ staff nor players have yet been paid their October salaries.
“The Eastern Province Rugby Union has noted that there have been a number of issues raised in the media over the past few days, and acknowledge and apologise for our lack of proper communication on these issues,” the union said via a press statement released late on Thursday.
The non-payment of players is due to cash flow problems, the union admitted.
“These cash flow problems can be attributed to significant delays in the release of funds from a sponsorship deal that was originally announced by EP Rugby President, Cheeky Watson.
The Brumbies have announced Argentine scrumhalf Tomás Cubelli will be joining the Canberra-based Super Rugby team on a 2-year deal.
Cubelli is a member of the Argentine national team and has been a standout player for Los Pumas this year including a number of strong performances in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Cubelli has 45 Test caps, the most recent being the 3rd-place playoff at the Rugby World Cup against South Africa, in which he started at scrumhalf for Los Pumas.
Brumbies CEO Michael Jones said Cubelli was presented a number of options after a very successful international season, including the new Argentinian Super Rugby side which will boast 21 of their Rugby World Cup semifinal squad, and was very happy to have secured the international star.
New Zealand Rugby chief Steve Tew said it was premature to speculate about Japan joining The Rugby Championship.
The sport is currently on a high in the Asian nation after the Brave Blossoms’ exploits at the Rugby World Cup, which included a stunning 34 / 32 win over South Africa, but there are already concerns about its preparations for the expanded Super Rugby competition next year.
With Japan set to host the next edition of the Rugby World Cup in 2019, World Rugby is keen to consolidate its popularity in a large and potentially lucrative market.
The governing body’s chairman Bernard Lapasset said on a trip to Tokyo this week that Japan should join The Rugby Championship, which currently comprises New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina.
But New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said a more immediate concern for Japanese rugby was fielding a competitive side in the Super Rugby competition in 2016.
New DHL Stormers coach Eddie Jones says he wants them to play a brand of rugby that attracts people to come watch them.
After arriving in Cape Town last week, Jones held his 1st press-conference as DHL Stormers coach at Newlands on Thursday.
Speaking about the challenge ahead, Jones said: “It’s a fantastic city. Western Province is one of the most prestigious unions in the world – there is so much history here.
“When the opportunity came up to coach the Stormers – such a well-supported team, the best in the competition – it was simply too good to ignore. Of course, the ultimate aim is to produce a good team that attracts people to the stadium and, ultimately, challenges to win trophies.