Sunwolves Super Rugby 2020 season
The Sunwolves Super Rugby season in 2020 will kick off with a home game against the Rebels from Australia on February 1st in Fukuoka. The 18-week 2020 regular Super Rugby season, will see matches played in Argentina, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa.
“The World Rugby international Test match window for inbound matches/tours to Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa is now in July so this allows Super Rugby to be played uninterrupted across the 21-week tournament timeframe (including the three-week Finals series)” said the organisers on their website.
The Sunwolves play their Super Rugby in the Australian conference group, alongside:
- NSW Waratahs
In 2019 the Sunwolves ended bottom of the group while the Waratahs from Sydney topped the group.
This will be the last Super Rugby season for the Japanese Sunwolves after it was confirmed earlier in 2019 that the franchise will be axed from the competition in 2021. This was despite the team claiming some good wins early in the 2019 season.
The Japanese franchise will play home games in Tokyo, Fukuoka, Osaka and Singapore in 2020.
Super Rugby CEO, Andy Marinos added that “the schedule has 22 match venues confirmed and it is exciting that Super Rugby will once again venture into several new venues and cities. It has been confirmed that Hanazono Stadium, Osaka and Level Five Stadium, Fukuoka in Japan will host Sunwolves matches, while the Waratahs will play at WIN Stadium, Wollongong in Australia.”
Clash with Japanese Top Rugby
The schedule from SANZAAR for the Super Rugby season led to fans of rugby in Japan to bemoan the clashes with the recently announced Japan Top League competition for 2020. The Japan Top League runs from January 12th 2020 and set to conclude on May 9th 2020.
It will also be interesting to see how the player selection for the Sunwolves will be affected as its understood players will have obligations to play for their respective club teams. There are a number of game days in which the Top League teams and Sunwolves will be in action.
The Sunwolves 2019 season was also heavily disrupted with the Japan national rugby team in camp for most of the year and players switching between the Brave Blossoms RWC 2019 camps and playing Super Rugby.
Future of the Sunwolves?
At the moment, there seem to be 3 viable future paths for the Sunwolves:
- Asia-Pacific rugby tournament – previously SANZAAR indicated they are looking at the viability of adding an Asia-Pacific rugby competition in the future. However, there has been no update on this for some time.
- Global Rapid Rugby – the first full season starts in 2020, which the Sunwolves won’t be involved in. Maybe they will join in 2021
- Discontinued – sadly there is a strong chance the brand and franchise may fold all together if no viable financial and competitive future is confirmed during the coming year.
The Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan is just over a week away, read more about the best rugby tournaments in Asia at the time of RWC 2019.