The new Japanese franchise, yet to unveil a team name or squad list, have been drawn in one of two South African Conferences alongside the Bulls, Cheetahs, Stormers on February 27, 2016.
The new Japanese franchise, which will play three of their eight home matches at the National Stadium, will face South Africa’s Cheetahs that day.
The Waratahs’ two longest trips are for round 10 when they fly to Cape Town, South Africa to play the Stormers to be by coached by Eddie Jones on April 30, and round 15 against the new Japanese side in Tokyo at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium on July 2.
SANZAR Interim Chief Executive Brendan Morris said: “As we stand eagerly on the cusp of a new era of Super Rugby, fans can look forward to the upcoming season with a great deal of optimism and enthusiasm“.
Jones, who coached Australia to the 2003 World Cup final, said the fearless Blossoms were not just a representative team of Japan’s top players, but also had to act as a development team and a casualty ward for their injured.
The Australasian Group involves the Australian and New Zealand Conferences each featuring their existing five teams.
Yokohama Stadium, which staged the 2002 soccer World Cup final, will replace Japan’s new National Stadium as the venue for the 2019 Rugby World Cup final, World Rugby said on Monday.
It is most likely that the 2019 tournament will – like the 2015 Rugby World Cup – feature 20 teams, though there have been suggestions that the competition will increase to 24 or even 32 teams for the 2023 competition.
The Blues will host defending champions the Highlanders, the Brumbies will be at home to the Hurricanes and the Cheetahs will host Argentina in Bloemfontein.
World Rugby had concerns that Japan would not be able to supply enough big-match venues for a World Cup, but the Tokyo Stadium will now host many of those games, including hosting the opening ceremony and opening match. The 13.5 kilogram chrome and gold plated piece captures the prestige, grandeur and resilience of one of the world’s pre-eminent sporting competitions.
To lessen the travel burden on the South African teams, three of the Japanese entrant’s matches against South African teams will be played in Singapore.
“We are very excited by the next chapter of the competition”, said New Zealand Rugby General Manager Rugby Neil Sorensen.
Pulver believed Australian teams would again challenge for the title.