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.