TOKYO – With the eyes of the rugby world turned to Japan and with their future in Super Rugby hanging in the balance, the Sunwolves enter the 2019 season under unparalleled pressure.
In the year that Japan hosts the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the Tokyo-based team are entering their fourth season in Super Rugby having won only six of their previous 46 matches.
Sanzaar, Super Rugby’s governing body, will meet in March to plan the competition’s future from 2021, with suggestions the Sunwolves may be dumped if the number of teams is reduced.
A few early wins before that meeting would go a long way to persuading the powers that be that Japan deserve a Super Rugby team beyond the Rugby World Cup in September.
With former coach Jamie Joseph stepping aside to focus on Japan’s preparations for the World Cup, his assistant Tony Brown will lead the Sunwolves in 2019 looking for those early positive results.