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Japan team worries Super Rugby

AP

Super Rugby organizers are starting to express concern about the strength of the Japanese club which is due to join the Southern Hemisphere competition next season.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said SANZAR, the tournament’s governing body, was confident the Argentine club which will debut in 2016 will be competitive, but is worried about preparations at the Japan club and “nervous” about the strength of new South African team, the Kings. The inclusion of the Kings and teams from Japan and Argentina will expand Super Rugby from 15 to 18 teams.

“We are all very excited by what Japan achieved at Rugby World Cup but we remain pretty nervous about their readiness for Super Rugby,” Tew said. “They have not announced a coach yet so that is clearly an issue and they have not got a playing roster completely full. So they are the two issues they have to put their foot on the throttle for.”

The 2016 Super Rugby season will begin on Feb. 26 and Japan’s Sunwolves are scheduled to play their opening match against South Africa’s Lions in Tokyo on Feb. 27.