Japan Rugby’s CEO Kensuke Iwabuchi says they are in talks with both the Six Nations and The Rugby Championship organisers to join these competitions.
Not having played a lot of rugby since the start of Covid-19, Iwabuchi says: “For our national teams to have not played for the best part of two years has had a huge impact.
“We definitely need to be involved in regular international competition, otherwise we cannot expect to maintain consistently strong sides.”
As for the solution, he adds: “Europe has the Six Nations and the Southern Hemisphere have the Rugby Championship.
“We are in discussions with both competitions, but while Japan is technically in the northern hemisphere, from a time-zone perspective we are closer to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific nations, so it probably makes sense to connect with their competitions.”
Winning only one match of the six they played last year, Iwabuchi says they shouldn’t be judged on those results.
He says: “We didn’t necessarily have fantastic results in the lead up to 2019, yet we performed very well at the tournament.
“Considering that in 2021 we were competitive against Australia and Scotland, and in our first match against Ireland, I think we did relatively well. I remain very optimistic regarding the Brave Blossoms and think that with two years of solid preparation ahead of France 2023, we can be in a position to achieve similar, if not better results than 2019.”