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Japanese SuperRugby side battling to sign players

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The Japanese Super Rugby side have signed just two players for next year’s
Super Rugby tournament which is just six months away.

Japan, Argentina and South Africa will each get a new Super Rugby franchise
taking the number of teams to 18.

Argentina have already signed the majority of their squad for next year and
look to be in the best position for the new season.

South Africa’s Southern Kings are making plans for next year and there are
rumours of a major sponsorship in the making but they have yet to announce any
significant signings. Most of the rugby world’s big names have already been
snapped up for next year and most will make their moves after the world cup.

South African Super Rugby depth will be severely tested next year as the Kings
will not be able to borrow players as they did in 2013 when they were included
in Super Rugby due to the vast numbers of players from the other franchises
who have chosen to play abroad.

If the South African side’s depth is a concern it pales in comparison to the
Japanese side who will need a minimum of 23 to 25 players to run a squad.

The deadline for the Japanese Super Rugby side to sign it’s players passed
last month without a player being signed.

SANZAR’s plan for the Japanese side is for it to play in one of the two new
South African conferences and they will have flight times of just under 24 hours
for matches out side of Japan.

The un-named Japanese side will also play half of their home games in Singapore
which means that 75% of their season will be spent on the road.

It will also be difficult for the Japanese side to build up a strong fan base
at home as the team will mostly be playing in a time slot that favours South
Africa instead of Japan.

The new team will be owned by the Japanese Rugby Union instead of the large
corporations that own the Top League sides and the development of players will
be crucial for the Asian side as they will host the Rugby World Cup in 2019.

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