Japan is an improving rugby nation thanks to Australian coach Eddie Jones who has helped the cherry blossoms to beat Italy, Samoa, Scotland and Wales in recent seasons and sit 11th in the world rankings, ahead of some Tier 1 nations.
Japan defeated Singapore for the spot, despite the travel logistics from South Africa which is the conference they would be associated with. It will be interesting to see how teams deal with the travel factor and how Japan goes about recruiting some big name players. There is no shortage of money in the game in Japan and so it makes sense for a move into the big Asia market.
Next stop, a North American team in Super 21 or Super 24 around 2020?
Do you agree with Japan joining Super Rugby 2016? I think it is great, but I wonder about the logistics of the travel and the depth of players available for all of these teams. There will also be a team from Argentina and another South African team from 2016.
In my opinion, having Japan will be a struggle with all of the travel from South Africa, meaning that New Zealand teams may actually benefit. Especially since the South African depth is being tested with only five teams.