The head of the Australian Rugby Union has announced Japan could become the home of a new rugby team in SANZAR’s Super 14 competition.
|John O'Neill looking to grow rugby, and rugby's|
income in Asia [GALLO/GETTY]
ARU chief executive John O'Neill was in Tokyo discussing ways to develop the sport in Asia, including a possible expansion of the Super 14 competition, currently played between 14 provincial representative sides of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
"The Super 14 could be expanded again in the next few years,'' said O'Neill, adding that the talks were still in the preliminary stages.
"We could possibly base a team in Tokyo.''
O'Neill said the team would likely be half Japanese and half foreign.
O'Neill was visiting Japan to back the country's bid to stage the 2015 World Cup.
Rugby officials have long been eager to tap into the lucrative Asian market.
Another possibility being discussed is a visit to Japan by the Wallabies and All Blacks.
The Australia and New Zealand rugby unions made a joint announcement Monday, confirming a fourth match in this season's Bledisloe Cup test series between the two nations would be staged on Nov. 1 at Hong Kong Stadium.
O'Neill said Wednesday that Japan could also host a Bledisloe Cup match in 2009.