Japan hoping to join Rugby Championship

The Japan Rugby Football Union has confirmed that it is in talks to join either the Rugby Championship or the Six Nations, but would prefer to be part of the southern hemisphere tournament.

After their heroics at the 2019 World Cup on home soil, where they reached the quarter-finals, Japan won only one of their six matches in 2021 against Portugal.

The JRFU has acknowledged that the national team will need more regular international competition against the top countries in the world if they are to continue to be competitive.

JRFU CEO, Kensuke Iwabuchi, said Japan is currently negotiating with both the Six Nations and the Rugby Championship over the possibility of joining the competitions. However, he said due to time zones, it makes more sense to join the Rugby Championship.

“For our national teams to have not played for the best part of two years has had a huge impact,” Iwabuchi, a former Japan international, told the JRFU website.

“We definitely need to be involved in regular international competition, otherwise we cannot expect to maintain consistently strong sides.

“Europe has the Six Nations and the Southern Hemisphere have the Rugby Championship.

“We’re in discussions with both competitions, but while Japan is technically in the Northern Hemisphere, from a time-zone perspective we’re closer to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific nations, so it probably makes sense to connect with their competitions.”

Photo: Matt Roberts/Getty Images

Post by