Rugby Australia and the Sunwolves have come to the conclusion that the Japan-based team will be unable to participate in the proposed Super Rugby AU competition.

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Despite the best efforts and intentions of both organisations, 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.

Current restrictions in place for international travellers entering Australia in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic mean the Tokyo-based Sunwolves, if able to enter the country, would be required to complete a 14 day quarantine period within a hotel before they could begin training. The team would also need to establish a permanent base in Australia for the duration of the 12-week competition.

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In conversation with Schalk Burger

Rugby Australia interim CEO, Rob Clarke said: “There are significant challenges facing the Sunwolves’ participation in this modified competition model which Rugby Australia, SANZAAR and the Sunwolves have been attempting to work through. However, the reality is, given the timeframe available the team’s preparation for the competition would be severely compromised.

“All parties agree that despite our collective efforts and desire to see the Sunwolves take part in the competition, under the current circumstances their participation will not be feasible. While unfortunate, this decision delivers the certainty that all stakeholders require at this point in time.

“We all agree that this is not the way we wanted or believed that the 2020 Super Rugby season would play out when it kicked off back in late January, the impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and unforeseen.

“On behalf of Rugby Australia, our SANZAAR partners and the rugby community I pass on our thanks to the Sunwolves and we look forward to continuing to build on the links between Australia and Japan on and off the rugby field.”

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