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Japan working to get Super Rugby tasks completed, JRFU executive says

Kyodo

Japan has signed the number of players it needs to take part in Super Rugby and remains confident it will not lose its franchise in the competition, Japan Rugby Football Union general secretary Noriyuki Sakamoto said on Saturday.

While Sakamoto did not say how many players Japan has actually signed, he said it has met the quota put forth to it by SANZAR, the governing body of rugby in the Southern Hemisphere, amid reports the organization is preparing a contingency plan for next season.

“We have enough (to play a game),” Sakamoto said prior to Japan’s final home game against Uruguay ahead of the Rugby World Cup. “We’ve met the number they’ve asked for.”

Sakamoto said the Japan Super Rugby Association has yet to contract a head coach, however, and will likely have to name a list of potential acting coaches for Monday’s deadline when it has to report to SANZAR again.

Sakamoto said one of the reasons the JSRA has not been able to name a coach is because it must first find a replacement for national coach and Japan’s Super Rugby director Eddie Jones, who will resign from both posts after the World Cup.

Sakamoto admitted he is unsure how SANZAR will react to Japan’s latest proposal, although he believes the two parties will eventually find an amicable solution.

“I can’t imagine they will take it off us after all we’ve done,” he said.

“It’s how negotiations play out. Even if we happen to miss a deadline, we never at any point said we would quit. We don’t know what they’ll say but if they say what we submit isn’t good enough, we’ll ask why but we plan on honoring our agreement with SANZAR.”