Japan’s Sunwolves will be ready for Super Rugby

Japan's new Super Rugby team will be known as the Sunwolves

SANZAR’s newly-appointed CEO Andy Marinos has insisted that Japan’s new Super Rugby team the Sunwolves will be ready for the upcoming season.

Japan won the bid for the Asian Super Rugby franchise when the tournament expands next year from 15 to 18 teams and the team is known as the Sunwolves.

Former Japan coach was the Sunwolves Director of Rugby but he resigned to become Stormers coach and then left that position to become England head coach.

It is understood that Fiji coach John McKee was offered the position of Sunwolves head coach but he declined which leaves the new Super Rugby team without a coach less than three months before kick off.

The Sunwolves have not disclosed their list of players and there are concerns about the quality they will be able to field as several Japan internationals have opted to play for rival teams.

However new SANZAR CEO Marinos says that he is “100 percent confident” the Sunwolves would be ready for Super Rugby.

“They have contracted a core group of around 24 to 25 Japanese players,” Marinos told Reuters.

“We expect they will finalise their coach in the next week or two.”

“And there are obviously a few players who are waiting to understand who that coach is before they commit. We expect to see a lot more traction in the next week or two.”

The Sunwolves will play some of their home games in Japan and some in Singapore but will make their Super Rugby debut against South Africa’s Lions in Tokyo on Feb. 27.

Marinos said that it would be wrong to write the Sunwolves off at this early stage.

“What we have seen over the last 20 years is that surprise teams come up and what would be considered strong teams, for whatever reasons, don’t really hit the highs that you want,” he said.

“But overall, the standard has been of an acceptable level … I have no doubt that anyone of those teams that don’t start the season off well will have a huge upset at some stage.”

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