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Eddie Jones laughs off Singapore Super Rugby bid
ESPN Staff
July 18, 2014
Eddie Jones believes Japan is the only logical choice to host a new Super Rugby franchise © Getty Images

Japan is the only realistic choice to host a new Super Rugby franchise when the competition expands in 2016, according to Eddie Jones.

Super Rugby organisers SANZAR confirmed earlier this week that Japan and Singapore had tabled bids to play host to one of three new clubs when the competition expands to 18 teams. The other two spots will go to an Argentinian side and South Africa's Southern Kings, meaning Japan and Singapore will go head-to-head for the right to host a team.

Japan head coach Jones insisted the competition would lose credibility if organisers ignored the rugby-mad country.

"In terms of growing the game you'd think they would choose Japan," Jones told AFP. "Singapore has no rugby history at all. They would just be coming and plonking a team of Pacific islanders there.

"It can't be the right choice. That's just crazy."

Under Jones' guidance, Japan have secured a record ten successive wins, culminating in a 26-23 victory over Italy in Tokyo last month which saw the Asian champions break into the world's top to for the first time.

"Japan's 10th in the world, has the world's fourth biggest rugby playing population, the world's third biggest economy. Japan hosts the World Cup in 2019," Jones said.

"But professional rugby is all about money so there could be other economic factors."

The Australian and South African unions - who, along with New Zealand, make up SANZAR - are understood to be at loggerheads over whether an 18th team should go to Japan or Singapore.

South Africa is understood to favour Singapore because it will mean less flying time for its teams, while Australia are backing Japan because of the country's rugby heritage. New Zealand's union has kept its cards close to its chest, but there is thought be support from the NZR for a Singapore bid.

Jones however, was scornful of Singapore as a Super Rugby venue: "Just because it's 11 hours from South Africa? You have to take rugby to growth centres, not artificial places."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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