Sunwolves’ Super Rugby journey ends as Australian league hopes dashed

Jun 01 ,2020. 1 hour ago – 12:22 KYODO NEWS

(Garth April of the Sunwolves breaks through the defence during the round seven Super Rugby match between the Sunwolves and the Crusaders at Suncorp Stadium on March 14, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia)[Getty/Kyodo]  

TOKYO – The Sunwolves will not compete in the proposed Australian domestic competition due to logistics and stringent coronavirus border restrictions, meaning the Japanese franchise’s time in Super Rugby is over.

Rugby Australia and the Sunwolves decided Monday the Tokyo-based team will not take part from next month in the modified five-nation Super Rugby competition in which the axed Western Force and Sunwolves were included as possible participants.

Even if the Sunwolves were able to enter Australia, they would be required to complete a 14-day quarantine period and find a permanent base for the 12-week competition.

“It is extremely unfortunate and disappointing but the reality is that the Sunwolves’ time in Super Rugby has come to an end for now,” team CEO Yuji Watase said in a statement.

“It has been an honor and privilege for us to be part of the toughest rugby competition in the world. We wish to thank all our wonderful fans, sponsors, partners, players and staff for all they have done for rugby in Japan and the Sunwolves organization.”

Rugby Australia put out a statement on the decision it called an “unfortunate conclusion.”

“Despite the best efforts and intentions of both organizations, challenges created by COVID-19 will prevent the team from having time to adequately prepare and be ready to participate in the Australia-based competition which is planned for a July 3 kick-off,” the statement read.

Super Rugby chiefs announced in March the Japanese team would be cut at the end of the 2020 competition after five seasons in the Super Rugby fold.