• Jones rubbishes Singapore bid

    Japan coach Eddie Jones has slammed Saru for supporting Singapore's bid for a Super Rugby franchise.

    The Vodacom Super Rugby competition will expand in 2016 to include 18 teams across four conferences. The Southern Kings will return to the fray, while an Argentinian side will be introduced.

    The identity of the third new side is yet to be determined, although it's believed this team will be based in either Singapore or Japan.

    Writing for the Courier Mail, Jones, who has been coaching in Japan for some time and is currently the national coach, said that is was a no-brainer to award the franchise to a country who'll be hosting the 2019 World Cup. He said that Sanzar would lose credibility if it gave the franchise to Singapore, and criticised Saru's reasons for supporting the bid.

    'It is a joke that Singapore is even being considered as the base for the 18th Super Rugby team when Japan ticks all the right boxes for forward thinking,' Jones wrote. 'Ruling body Sanzar will lose all credibility if Singapore is selected to serve South African interests with a less demanding travel load.

    'If travel is the deciding factor, then Dubai should be selected and rugby ethos and history ignored altogether. Enough of that nonsense. Rugby has had a footprint in Japan since 1899 at Keio University in Tokyo and there are more than 100,000 players and 3500 clubs in the country.'

    Jones added that a Singapore franchise would in all likelihood be comprised of imported players. Japan, he argued, has improved over the past few seasons, and are currently ranked in the top 10 of the IRB rankings. Jones feels that the country has the players and the infrastructure to host a competitive Super Rugby franchise.

    A decision on the 18th Super Rugby team is expected to be made in September.

    Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images

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    Jon Cardinelli