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Top League to trim 2018 season to 10 games ahead of World Cup

Kyodo

The Japan Rugby Top League will adopt a shorter season next year to allow players for the national team more time to prepare for Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan, the Japan Rugby Football Union revealed Wednesday.

Teams will play 10 games instead of the 15 they are scheduled to play this season. From September to December, each team will play seven league games, and follow that with three games to determine the final order of of the standings.

The shorter schedule will allow Top League players who also compete in Super Rugby with the Sunwolves more time to recover between the two seasons.

“2019 is a special year, so all of Japan must cooperate,” Osamu Ota, the Top League’s commissioner, said.

After the World Cup is over, the Top League’s 2019-2020 season won’t begin until January 2020 and will then run until May.