Sanzaar CEO Andy Marinos says there were just too many barriers to overcome with regard to the Sunwolves’ proposed continued participation in Vodacom Super Rugby.
It was confirmed last year that 2020 would be the Sunwolves’ last season in the competition, but the Covid-19 pandemic meant this year’s campaign stopped prematurely and thus ended the Sunwolves’ Super Rugby stay.
The Japanese team suffered another blow this week when its proposed involvement in the Australian Super Rugby spin-off tournament fell through.
Following confirmation of the Sunwolves’ exclusion from the new Australian competition, the Japanese team’s former assistant coach, Tony Brown, rehashed the suggestion that South African rugby had a ‘hateful’ role to play in the side’s Super Rugby exit.
But the Sanzaar boss contradicted Brown, saying that Sanzaar, Rugby Australia and the Japan Super Rugby Association made the call.
‘Unfortunately the reformatted Super Rugby competitions will not see the participation of the Jaguares or Sunwolves in 2020 due to the difficulties now surrounding international travel and government isolation and quarantine regulations. The decision around the Jaguares was largely taken out of our hands with the country’s travel ban being extended until 1 September 2020.
‘Sanzaar together with Rugby Australia and the Japan Super Rugby Association examined several options in regard to their participation but unfortunately, the barriers proved too hard to overcome. Having had the privilege of working closely with both the JRFU and JRSA over the past five years, it is very sad that they end their time with Super Rugby in this manner.
‘It has been wonderful to see the growth and further interest in the game over this period culminating with a very well-run and successful RWC. They added Asian flair and colour to Super Rugby with some fantastically enthusiastic crowds and we wish Japan Rugby every success in further developing its domestic club competition in the years to come.’
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