Death knell for Sunwolves
Rugby Australia and the Sunwolves have decided the Tokyo-based team won’t take part in next month’s Australia-based Super Rugby AU competition.
The two organisations announced on Monday that, despite their best efforts, travel restrictions due to COVID-19 meant the team couldn’t prepare adequately in time for a planned July 3 kick-off.
If able to enter Australia, the Sunwolves would still be required to complete a 14 day quarantine period confined to a hotel before they could begin training.
The team, who were part of the Australian Super Rugby conference, would also need to establish a permanent base in Australia for the duration of the 12-week competition.
Rugby Australia interim CEO Rob Clarke said while they wanted the Sunwolves to join the four Super Rugby teams plus the Western Force in this year’s revamped competition, it wasn’t feasible.
“There are significant challenges facing the Sunwolves’ participation in this modified competition model which Rugby Australia, SANZAAR and the Sunwolves have been attempting to work through,” Clarke said in a statement.
“However, the reality is, given the timeframe available the team’s preparation for the competition would be severely compromised.
“While unfortunate, this decision delivers the certainty that all stakeholders require at this point in time.”
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Meanwhile, the Sunwolves confirmed that Monday (June 1) official spells the end of the road for the Japanese franchise.
“It is extremely unfortunate and disappointing, but the reality is that the Sunwolves’ time in Super Rugby has come to an end,” Japan Super Rugby Association CEO Yuji Watase said.
“It has been an honour and privilege for us to be part of the toughest rugby competition in the world.
“We wish to thank all our wonderful fans, sponsors, partners, players and staff for all they have done for rugby in Japan and the Sunwolves organisation.”