The Sunwolves, a team that promised the world but have delivered very little, are on their way out of Super Rugby.
Their highly publicised eviction from the competition had many fans up in arms earlier this year, who accused SANZAAR of being shortsighted with their decision making.
After Japan’s superlative performance at the World Cup, however, many have called for the Sunwolves’ extradition to be thrown in the garbage – the country is simply too good to not be involved.
SANZAAR have rightly now been considering how they can incorporate Japan into the Test calendar in a more meaningful way, which could see the Brave Blossoms join an extended Rugby Championship (however even that comes with challenges).
Continue reading below…
Adding Japan to an international competition, however, does necessitate continued inclusion in Super Rugby – especially if Japan continue to treat the competition with a lack of respect.
Yes, Super Rugby is dwindling in quality and yes, the competition has its flaws – but Japan haven’t exactly committed to the competition in any meaningful way.
The Sunwolves have regularly been propped up by foreign players, many who are ineligible for the Japanese national side. This would be somewhat justifiable if it meant that the team was competitive, but results indicate that also hasn’t been the case, with the side managing just 8 victories in 61 matches played to date.
If the Sunwolves were to have any hope of quashing SANZAAR’s edict to remove them from the competition, then they would’ve formed a team made up of at least a significant number of the players that performed to such a high standard in the World Cup.
Instead, fans are being treated to the usual shambles, with the Sunwolves looking like a hybrid NZ/Australia/South Africa team comprised of players who likely didn’t make the cut for their home nations’ sides.
— ??????/SUNWOLVES (@sunwolves) November 26, 2019
Of the 15 players that the Sunwolves named earlier this week, four have come directly from New Zealand’s Mitre 10 Cup and two from Australia’s National Rugby Competition. A further four spent their recent years in European competitions but started out their careers in Australasia.
Place of birth is by no means the be-all and end-all for deciding where a player’s national commitments lie, but it’s hard to imagine that all 14 of the foreign-born contingent have major ties to Japan.
It’s also hard to imagine that this Sunwolves side is going to put up much of a fight in 2020. They’re not bad players, by any stretch, but there must be a number of players throughout Japan who could meet their standards and should be in the Japanese Super Rugby side ahead of them.
Already the Sunwolves have treated Super Rugby as a joke and SANZAAR should feel no obligation to grant the club a lifeline, but even if the powers that be were considering revoking the Sunwolves’ eviction notice, the latest squad announcement certainly won’t help the team’s chances.
WATCH: Regardless of what you might say about the Sunwolves, they certainly have an amazing fanbase – as witnessed as the 2019 World Cup.
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.