It will be divided into four conferences – with one in Australia and New Zealand each and two in South Africa.
Yesterday, the dates of the three Super Rugby games that will be held at the 55,000-capacity National Stadium at the Sports Hub were announced.
The draw for 2016 will see each of the five Australian teams play six matches within their own conference, five against teams in the New Zealand conference and four against those in the South African conferences.
He said: “We are in the envious position to be delivering our great brand of rugby to new cities and global markets, unlocking a host of commercial opportunities and delivering the unbridled excitement of Super Rugby to a legion of new and existing fans”. One will be made up of the Bulls, Cheetahs, Stormers and the Japanese team, and the other will consist of the Kings, Lions, Sharks and the team from Argentina.
“We would like to thank our partners in Japan for their committed response to the stadium issue and all of the work they have undertaken, and in particular the Prime Minister of Japan and his government, Japan Sports Council and the Governor of Tokyo and Mayor of Yokohama for their full support”.
This year fans will be treated to more Super Rugby than ever before, with a regular season consisting of 135 matches (up from 120 matches in 2015) and an eight-team finals series featuring seven crucial Finals matches including the Asteron Life Super Rugby Final.
Rivalries don’t come any bigger than that between Australian Rugby’s oldest foes, the NSW Waratahs and Queensland Reds, who square off twice in the opening month of the season. “So, yes, numerous current Japan players are likely to play in the Super 18s”.
Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver said the arrival of Japan and Argentina to Super Rugby would expose the game and competition to a new supporter base.
Meticulously crafted by Blue Sky Design, the chrome and gold plated piece captures the prestige, grandeur and resilience of one of the world’s toughest sporting titles.
Because Australian teams have been drawn to play in the South African conference that includes the Japanese side, they will not play the Argentinian team next season.
South Africa were understood to be on standby in case Japan failed to meet the criteria for the 2019 Cup – the first to be staged in Asia. With rugby fever captivating the nation, preparation is gathering pace for the delivery of Asia’s first Rugby World Cup and a tournament that will inspire new participants and fans across the world’s most populous continent. The Springboks will fly the flag high against Scotland on 3 October at St James Park in Newcastle.