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Pichot: Add Japan to the Rugby Championship

World Rugby Vice Chairman, Agustín Pichot has asked for the Rugby Championship to expand to include Japan. The former Pumas captain made the request in an interview with the Telegraph.

Japan is involved in Super Rugby. The Japanese side, the Sunwolves, defeated the Blues yesterday to end their second season in the competition. The team will be back again in 2018 as will Los Jaguares, Argentina’s first professional rugby side.

While both teams are involved in Super Rugby the Japanese are not a part of the Rugby Championship. Pichot has challenged SANZAAR to change this as well as for the Six Nations to include Georgia.

I would love to see the Six Nations open up to Georgia. I would also challenge SANZAAR to open up to Japan and the Americas Championship to countries to like Mexico. Those are the type of things that motivates me to be a suit; the growth of the women’s game, establishing rugby in China,” stated Pichot.

Japan will host Rugby World Cup 2019. It is to be the first edition of the World Cup to be played outside of founding unions. The previous eight were all played in traditional locations. Pichot would like Argentina to host the tournament and the UAR had been interested in bidding for 2023.

With World Rugby highly expected to return to a traditional market after 2019, Argentina 2023 will not be happening. The possibility remains for Argentina 2027 and the UAR already has the backing of the government.

Adding Japan to the Rugby Championship would be an important part of growing the game. The leading Asian country has appeared in all Rugby World Cups. In 2015 the Brave Blossoms defeated South Africa, Samoa and the USA.

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Formally created in June 2015, this website’s goal is to increase media exposure of the Tier 2 rugby nations, and create a hub with a focus on the stories of rugby in the Americas – North, Central and South.

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  • nico christo

    Woaaa ! This Agustin Pichot is the right man for rugby!!

  • OldStyle

    Instead of making room at the big kid’s table for just a couple more nations, I’d rather see more of an effort to make the Pacific Nations Cup (the six team version with Japan, Canada, and the U.S.) a more legitimate tournament. If done right – and that means a proper round robin, better marketing, and accessible broadcasting of the tournament – it could be a case where the rising tide lifts all ships.

    • nico christo

      The Japanese Union did a pretty goof job these last year what neither the US nor the Canadians did. The JRU built the Top League, a real pro competition that contributed for sure to the victory vs Boks at the last RWC. Americans and Canadians must show something before hoping more.

      • OldStyle

        I don’t disagree that Japan’s in a much better place right now but my point is about forward thinking, not what these countries deserve on merit at this moment. Because let’s be honest here – merit doesn’t mean a whole lot in the eyes of the old boys’ clubs that run international rugby at the moment. These unions – Japan included – could do everything necessary to build themselves into international powerhouses and still not be invited to the Rugby Championship if SANZAAR don’t feel like it. But they all absolutely have the ability to build up the commercial viability and prestige of their own tournament, and I see that working out a lot better than hoping and praying for a spot in some other competition.

  • Mike

    Japan would only weaken the rugby championship, at this point in time. When they’ve made RWC quarter finals and semi-finals (like Argentina have) then they would be deserving of a call up to the Rugby Championship. Japan would be better off playing in a “Pacific Nations Cup”, in August-September, against USA, Canada, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa. All six nations would benefit from having a full roster of international matches. Experience will improve performance.