"Hawaii and Japan" - Super Rugby CEOs Plan For League's Expansion - Ruck

“Hawaii and Japan” – Super Rugby CEOs Plan For League’s Expansion

The Southern Hemisphere’s premier domestic club rugby competition is looking to further expand in the coming years. Super Rugby is hoping to add a team from the island state of Hawaii, and also branch back out into Japan.

According to a report from Australian sports news outlet Wide World of Sports Rugby Australia Chairman Hamish McLennan discussed the league’s intentions to expand the league. Currently, Super Rugby Pacific features 12 sides, five from New Zealand, five from Australia, and the newly included Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika teams.

“(Rugby Australia CEO Phil Waugh) believes that we should be housing a team out of Hawaii, so a US-led team,” McLennan said on Newstalk ZB’s Rugby Direct.

“And Robbo (New Zealand CEO Mark Robinson) has certainly talked a lot about Japan, which we agree.”

Super Rugby has branched out into Japan once before, as the Tokyo Sunwolves competed in the competition from 2016 to 2020. However, the Covid-19 pandemic cancelled the Super Rugby competitions in 2020, and nationalised the leagues into Super Rugby AU and Aotearoa in 2021.

This inactivity led to the eventual collapse of the Sunwolves, yet ambitions are high to see a Super Rugby franchise representing the Far East once again.

“I think if we can at least get two teams, then that would deliver us more teams, more hours, and a more robust differentiated competition.” McLennan continued.

“Collectively, we’ve got to think about expansion and how we continue to support the Drua, Moana Pasifika, our system, your system, and just make it the world’s best provincial competition.”

The 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season is currently in the play-off stages. The Crusaders are taking on the Blues in an All-New Zealand semi-final derby today, with the Brumbies facing off against the Chiefs in tomorrow’s semi-final.

Featured Image of Trophy – Credit: All Blacks