SANZAR confirmed last week that the two leading locations for the 18th team that will play in the South African group are Singapore and Japan.
According to reports South Africa have flexed their muscle and pushed Singapore into the lead as the location is far more accesible than Japan.
South African teams will have to travel to Singapore or Japan to play some of their matches and currently there are no direct flights from South Africa to Japan.
That means that the journey from SA to Japan can take 23 hours compared to the 11 hour flight to Singapore. The Singapore time zone is more in line with South Africa compared to Japan.
Reports suggest that the Singapore team could be known as the Asia Pacific Dragons and former All Black Tana Umaga has already been mentioned as a possible coach of the that is expected to feature a heavy flavour of Pacific Island players.
Meanwhile former Brumbies and Reds coach Eddie Jones who is now the Japanese national coach says that SANZAR will “lose all credibility” if they award the team to Singapore.
Jones said in his weekly column for News Limited that it was, “a joke that Singapore is even being considered as the base for the 18th Super Rugby team when Japan ticks all the right boxes for forward thinking.”
The former Wallabies coach said ,”If travel is the deciding factor then Dubai should be selected and rugby ethos and history ignored altogether.”
“Enough of that nonsense. Rugby has had a footprint in Japan since 1899 … and there are more than 100,000 players and 3500 clubs in the country. ”
“Japan has become the first Asian nation to reach 10th in the world and the Rugby World Cup is heading here in 2019.”
Jones said that he was “not being biased as Japan’s coach but any smart organisation should see the value of promoting Japan as an expansion team in Super 18.”
“Through their TV rights clout, South Africa are pushing the Singapore bid where rugby is linked to the gin-and-tonic set at the Singapore Cricket Club and no players.”
“They would play in a grand new stadium but every player in a Singapore-based team would be an import.”
“Consider this. Japan recently beat Sri Lanka 132-10 and Singapore are ranked 10 spots lower than them at No. 58 in the world,” said Jones.