Konnichiwa and Hola! Two new teams confirmed for 2016 Investec Super Rugby
Investec Super Rugby's expansion to 18 teams from 2016 is officially complete with SANZAR formally confirming the participation of the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) and Union Argentina de Rugby (UAR) at an Executive Committee meeting.
The confirmation is the final stage of formalities and paves the way for the Tokyo and Buenos Aires based franchises to start contracting players and staff ahead of their historic entry to Investec Super Rugby in a little over 12 months from now.
SANZAR Chief Executive Greg Peters said, "It gives me great pleasure to welcome the JRFU and UAR who will join the Kings from South Africa as Super Rugby prepares to expand into abold and exciting new era.
"As Top 10 ranked rugby nations with established high performance level leagues and over 100,000 players each, there is no doubt as to Japan and Argentina's rugby readiness and passion for the sport.
"With a heritage stretching back some 115 years, Japan also offers tremendous infrastructure and an active fan base that we view as pivotal to the ongoing sustainability of the team.
Tatsuzo Yabe, Chairman of the JRFU said, "It is a great pleasure and honour to be able to announce the historical decision of Japan’s entry to Super Rugby.
"It is absolutely essential for us to participate in the competition as we move toward a successful Rugby World Cup here in 2019.
"We are also convinced that participating in Super Rugby will encourage greater interest in our domestic rugby and it will become a big dream and goal for those who play rugby in Japan especially younger generations to compete at this level.
"We believe that such positive development will be a driving force for Japan rugby to move forward on the world stage and we will continue to make every endeavour to be successful at this level as we look toward Super Rugby in 2016, the 2019 Rugby World Cup and beyond."
Both the Japanese and Argentinean teams will play in the South African Group and will bepositioned in opposing conferences. The final composition of these conferences are subject to approval by South African Rugby Union's General Council.