Rugby

JRFU supports proposal for 12-team Nations Championship

Kyodo

The Japan Rugby Football Union said Friday it supports the establishment of a 12-team Nations Championship as proposed by the sport’s global governing body.

World Rugby met Thursday in Dublin with the heads of the prospective unions to make its pitch for the competition incorporating Europe’s Six Nations and the Southern Hemisphere’s Rugby Championship.

“We are coordinating with World Rugby and the respective unions to achieve a positive outcome,” the JRFU said.

Under the proposed format, teams will be divided into two groups based on the existing European and southern hemisphere competitions.

Two additional sides, chosen by world ranking, will be added to an expanded six-team Rugby Championship, which currently features New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina.

Based on its current ranking of 11, Japan would be one of the two, although the period for which the rankings will be taken into account is not clear.

JRFU chairman Noriyuki Sakamoto said that although the details of the proposed competition need to be fleshed out, his union supports the idea in principle.

“We believe the Japanese national team will grow stronger by playing 11 matches against the top-ranked sides in the world each year,” Sakamoto said.