• Kyodo

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With Japan set to be named the 18th Super Rugby team when the competition is expanded in 2016, the 2015-2016 Top League season will be abbreviated.

SANZAR — the body that governs Southern Hemisphere rugby competitions — formally backed Japan’s bid on Friday.

As the Japan Rugby Football Union traditionally prefers not to play games during the early stages of Rugby World Cups, and with the union having said it expects to reach the quarterfinals at next year’s tournament in England, it is believed the league will start in November and run for 10 straight weeks so as to stop before the Super Rugby season starts.

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