Why the Sunwolves were axed

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Why the Sunwolves were axed Empty Why the Sunwolves were axed

Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 24 Mar 2019, 1:00 am

Rich Freeman, who writes for Kyodo in Japan, is well-connected, so his account of what happened behind the scenes is likely to be accurate.

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2019/03/0ed081d72381-focus-rugby-sunwolves-demise-may-lead-to-new-dawn-for-japanese-rugby.html

He mentions the possible development of a new domestic competition in Japan.

Kyodo News has learned that this alternative pathway could involve a new club rugby competition run by Dentsu with the support of CSM and the players it manages.

Numerous sources have said that sponsors, TV rights and peripheral companies involved in putting on major events are all on board and that the tournament could involve not only established and newly-created Japanese teams but a number of sides from overseas...

...If such a league were to be set up and run from January to June, ensuring Japan's top players are ready to take part in World Rugby's proposed Nations Championship, it could see a host of players currently playing for SANZAAR teams move full time to Japan in search of bigger paydays.

In a twist of fate to match any political thriller, it could be that SANZAAR's axing of the Sunwolves may end up being the catalyst that breaks up the sporting body, rather than strengthening its own competition.

Whether Japanese administrators have the wherewithal to run such a competition, however, given its union's members are so clearly out of touch with modern rugby -- not to mention the JRFU's motto of "One for all, all for one" -- remains to be seen.

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Post by Brendan on Tue 26 Mar 2019, 11:18 am

There were reports that the Japanese Union couldn't afford them and SANZAR weren't happy that so few Japanese National players were signed up.

With the money in the Top league and the standard of player of the first 15 the Union is much better off going to develop their own structure.  They have the money to be a self sustaining league like England and France and take in lots of the surrounding development Nation players.

I don't think SANZAR know what they want and that is their problem.  They know they need money but don't know how to go about. They added the Sunwolves but didn't seem to know what they wanted from them.  They need a plan rather than being in the now

For the Pro14 they seem to be learning from SANZAR and from their own mistakes.  They recently hire a person who would work with the teams to grow their business and see their plan through.  They also made sure that the travel to SA was covered by the league and pooled travel knowledge such as visa, players on planes with laptops and how to pet lions.

They also made sure the new teams paid enough and had a plan to improve their teams (which they had not done with the italians).  Now that SA are looking to add two more teams it seems the league is putting down their foot on who they let in as those teams.


Last edited by Brendan on Tue 26 Mar 2019, 2:44 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by tigertattie on Tue 26 Mar 2019, 11:49 am

Japan could play a blinder here and start up a pacific ocean version of the Pro 14.

Teams from Japan, Tonga, Fiji and Samoa. Surely it's not much further for the islands to travel to japan as it is for SA teams to come to the UK? Whether they could afford it would be a different matter.

What about Taiwan, South Korea? Would they have interest? We have 7s tournaments in Singapore, surely that could be a pathway into things in the region? Would PNG get a team in? They've been onthe up in League, surely they could get a Union team sorted out?

Might not be long until we see SANZAAR told they need to start looking after themselves. World League or not, the SH could start to struggle financially if they keep on down this path of take take take and no giving back!
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Post by Brendan on Tue 26 Mar 2019, 2:44 pm

I wonder if the Japanesse would like to have a regional league set up over their league like in Europe to become the Centre of that Region.

If you had Forrester's Pacific league, Japan's top league and the Major Rugby League in North America you could easily do an end of year short tournament (or the following year as in europe) where the Top few teams go into the Pacfic Champions league. There is plenty of money in each of those leagues for it to work.

Japan is well able currently to suck up SH talent from SR. A well organised tournament would just make the flow to it bigger.

If something like that was successful and very likely the SA teams stuck in Super Rugby go North as they refuse to get less than the European based teams, then an Aus/NZ league would want to be a part of it but would be in a position of weakness with terms of joining.

SANZAR will now be tainted by this. If you are a new team being chatted up by them no matter what assurances they give you in the back of you mind you will wonder if they will cut your team after the initial agreement.  Since they joined there has been calls for the Sunwolves to be cut which doesn't help with Branding.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 29 Mar 2019, 11:25 am

Sunwolves just beat the Waratahs, to record their first win in Australia (they got a first win in NZ too this season).

The Waratahs included players like Beale, Folau, Hooper, Phipps, Karmichael Hunt, Ned Hanigan, Rob Simmons, and Sekope Kepu, so it wasn't an understrength side, except for the absence of Foley.

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Post by Brendan on Fri 05 Apr 2019, 3:35 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:Sunwolves just beat the Waratahs, to record their first win in Australia (they got a first win in NZ too this season).

The Waratahs included players like Beale, Folau, Hooper, Phipps, Karmichael Hunt, Ned Hanigan, Rob Simmons, and Sekope Kepu, so it wasn't an understrength side, except for the absence of Foley.

Some Aus fans would Foley missing as a positive

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Post by Kingshu on Fri 05 Apr 2019, 4:14 pm

From what I picked up the Sunwolves were being subsided by the other teams in the hope that the Japanese market would grow, there was no signthat the market had grown over the 4 years to even make Sunwolves self sustaining and hence they were dropped.
People mention a Japanese League with south sea Hon Kong teams, but there would beed to be big changes to make this work. If the Japense market cannot make a Super Rugby team self sufficient then how can it support a league? The top Leuague were never fully on board and even requested 'their players' appearances be limited in Super Rugby and that Top League matches would be prioritised'

For a league to work in Japan the Top League would have to agree to being like the Welsh Prem (we know how that worked out) or its teams for the new league (again not ideal).

It would be a tricky market to crack.

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Post by Brendan on Fri 05 Apr 2019, 6:06 pm

Kingshu wrote:From what I picked up the Sunwolves were being subsided by the other teams in the hope that the Japanese market would grow, there was no signthat the market had grown over the 4 years to even make Sunwolves self sustaining and hence they were dropped.
People mention a Japanese League with south sea Hon Kong teams, but there would beed to be big changes to make this work. If the Japense market cannot make a Super Rugby team self sufficient then how can it support a league?  The top Leuague were never fully on board and even requested 'their players' appearances be limited in Super Rugby and that Top League matches would be prioritised'

For a league to work in Japan the Top League would have to agree to being like the Welsh Prem (we know how that worked out) or its teams for the new league (again not ideal).

It would be a tricky market to crack.

I think Japan should stick with the top league.
Forrester can cover the Pacific Islands with his comp.
MLR are covering North America.
They just need a form of Euro Cup (which Japanese teams would win anyway so helps grow the game internally as everyone likes a winner.

SANZAAR have been terrible at timing their cuts. Kings were very good the year they got cut, Force were second in their Conference and now the Sunwolves are performing they get cut.

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