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Coca-Cola to disband Red Sparks rugby team

By Ian Cameron

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The Coca-Cola Red Sparks – a feature of Japanese rugby since their formation in 1966 – have announced that they are to disband.


Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan have confirmed that they would end all rugby activities in 2021. The team, who are based in Fukuoka, famously signed Wallaby winger and funnyman Nick Cummins in 2014.

In a statement, the club said: “Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan has decided to end the activities of the Company’s rugby club at the end of 2021.”

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While they are originally been set to leave the Top League and reapply to a new league in 2022, they have now made the decision to completely abandon their rugby program altogether.

“Since its founding in 1966, our rugby club “Coca-Cola Red Sparks” has been working together with the local community to develop Japanese rugby culture. In 2006, we were promoted to the Japan Rugby Top League sponsored by the Japan Rugby Football Union, and has been active as a top club in Japan for a long time.

“In the midst of rapid changes in the business environment, we are establishing a growth base in preparation for changes in the business environment over the medium to long term, and we are implementing reform efforts ahead of schedule. In principle, we are reviewing all efforts to maintain and grow the beverage business and specialize in it.


“As a result of re-examining the system for entering the new league announced this time, we are sorry to say that we have decided not to enter the new league and will end the activities of our rugby club at the end of this year.

“We will continue to provide appropriate career support for the future of our rugby team members. In addition, we will continue to contribute to the further development of local communities and rugby culture.

“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all those who have supported our rugby club.”


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