An eight-team second-tier league below the Top League will begin from the 2017-18 season, the Japan Rugby Football Union announced Friday.
The top two teams from each of Japan’s three provincial leagues — Top East, Top West, and Top Kyushu this upcoming season will win places in the newly set up “Top Challenge League.” The remaining two teams will be selected from a round-robin from the three third-place teams.
These eight teams will each play 10 games over two stages, beginning with one against each other team. After that first stage, the top four teams and bottom four will be put into separate groups for a final three-game second stage.
Postseason playoffs for promotion to the Top League and demotion to the provincial leagues will follow.