Sunwolves players celebrate their victory over the Bulls in round seven of the 2017 Super Rugby competition.
Sunwolves players celebrate their victory over the Bulls in round seven of the 2017 Super Rugby competition. Kento Oishi

Sunwolves happy with switch to Australian conference

THE Japan Rugby Football Union has welcomed the Sunwolves' switch to Super Rugby's Australian conference next season, saying the club will benefit from shorter flights and less disruptive changes in time zones.

Super Rugby's governing body, SANZAAR, has said that the Sunwolves will move from one of the African conferences to the Australian franchise.

"We will continue competing in one of the toughest competitions in the world of rugby," said JRFU chairman Noriyuki Sakamoto.

"However, we will do so in a slightly better environment regarding the time difference and the long-distance travel."

The JRFU has said the 2017-18 Top League season will end earlier to give the Sunwolves more time to prepare.

SANZAAR has said three teams, one from Australia and two from South Africa, will be axed from Super Rugby as the mainly southern hemisphere competition reverts to 15 teams for next season due to falling revenues and fan interest.

Australian Rugby Union sides Western Force or Melbourne Rebels will be axed from Super Rugby next season, while the ARU has said that the ACT Brumbies, champions in 2001 and 2004, are no longer at risk of being dropped.

South African Rugby has begun "internal consultations" over which teams it will cut.

The Port Elizabeth-based Kings and Bloemfontein side the Cheetahs are most vulnerable.

News Corp Australia

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