Thu. Oct 17th, 2019

Fiji, Japan and the USA could join the Rugby Championship

Fiji The Rugby ChampionshipAfter the collapse of World Rugby’s proposed Nations League SANZAAR are eager to expand the Rugby Championship and could add Fiji and Japan soon.

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Fiji, Japan and the United States Eagles are among the nations SANZAAR are considering inviting to an expanded Rugby Championship tournament expected to be implemented after 2021.

The Rugby Championship could expand beyond the Southern hemisphere after the collapse of World Rugby’s proposed Nations League.

SANZAAR had been particularly keen on the idea but it received phenomenal backlash in Europe.

Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle revealed in an interview published on the Unions website, that SANZAAR had been investigating options for expansion should the Nations League not work out.

“Certainly what World Rugby Nations Championship has done with this project is allow us to think outside the box about different things, around the calendar, the timing, inclusion of different teams, all of those things,” Castle said.

“It’s allowed the SANZAAR nations to think about the expansion of TRC, how does that would work from a team participation point of view, a commercial sustainability point of view, how does it work to grow the reach of TRC, and one of the options is the expansion of TRC, but no final decision has been made.”

World Rugby shelved its plans for the Nations League this week but SANZAAR has begun negotiations on a new TV-deal that will take effect in 2021, the organization. Japan and Fiji are reportedly the nations most likely to be added but there is interest in breaking into what could be a lucrative US market.

A deal to include Japan would certainly help improve the strained relations between SANZAAR and this year’s Rugby World Cup hosts. SANZAAR recently voted to remove Japanese Franchise, the Sunwolves, from Super Rugby. International competition, especially against the likes of the All Blacks and Springboks, could only improve Japanese rugby.

Giving back to Fiji

Fiji has hosted Super Rugby games in the past but inclusion into the Rugby Championship would be a massive boost for the nation’s fifteen man game. Fijian players have frequently defected to other nations and many leave the island in search of a better life. Fiji’s contribution to the culture of World Rugby is undeniable and adding them to the Rugby Championship, would likely be well-received.

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