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Thread: Japan doesn't want Super Rugby - Kirwan

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    Japan doesn't want Super Rugby - Kirwan

    Scrum.com
    June 11, 2009






    • Japan head coach John Kirwan has insisted that officials in the country have no interest in forming part of the Super Rugby expansion. With contract negotiation between South Africa, New Zealand and Australia reaching breaking point earlier in the year many speculated that incorporating the well-financed Japanese in to the competition would allow for a new structure should South African involvement end.
    • Negotiations were concluded between the parties last month, with a 15th franchise set to be based in Australia and the season extended.

    • "We don't want to (play in Super Rugby) because we have 20 of the biggest sponsors in the world which spends between $US5-6 million on rugby teams," Kirwan told AAP. "So I can't see the point in having one franchise in Tokyo, all we're going to do is annoy Toyota which has a $US1 billion marketing budget."

    • "We don't see it has any future. We believe in a strong home competition. We need to keep it strong so we have 200 or 300 Japanese playing at a high level. We're doing that through getting Georgie Gregan and Steve Larkham up there this year. Our competition is getting better year in, year out. I thinkSuper Rugby, in its current format, would break that down."
    http://www.scrum.com/scrum/rugby/story/98067.html

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    Kirwan is mostly right. But buying past their prime players won't make them competitive any time soon. Japan in Super rugby would be too much of a hassle but the constant exposure to top level competition would be good for them.

    I like his idea of a Heineken Cup for Australian, NZ, SA, Japanese, Islander, Canadian, USA and Argentinian teams but it would need to be played during the 3Ns to ensure the competition was competitive.

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    Japanese view point doesn't seem to have changed from a year ago then (they've been quiet for a while). Kirwan makes a good point about the corporate sponsorhip but they really need to up their league to a genuinely professional standard.

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    I wonder how representative of the sponsors Kirwan's view is?
    I'm tipping Toyota would jump at the chance to sponsor a team competing against teams in their 2nd and 4th biggest export markets!

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    That was my thinking too - have it as the "select" team from the Top League, collectively representing the domestic competition and all those sponsors internationally. Aim to complement the domestic competition rather than conflict with it.

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    The difference would be that the company wouldn't "own" the team like they do in Japan. Sanyo Wild Knights might not be happy having their employees playing in a Super Rugby side with "Sony" emblazoned across the front for example.

    Personally I would love to see something worked out though.

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    Kirwan is protecting his patch. You wait and see what happens if Sanzar asks for tenders from Japan. I'll bet there would be at least 10 strong bids especially if it was a private equity scenario, and i concur toyota would win it and I'd put money on them winning a final within 5 years(with imports of course)

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