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New Japanese pro league

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby Rugga » Wed, 16 Oct 2019, 15:33

:D Do Japan have a good team for the Olympics? Would be great to compound Japans rwc performance with a medal in the Olympics all gearing up for the league in 2021.

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby 4N » Wed, 16 Oct 2019, 16:25

Tobar wrote:They are changing the timing so the new league is Aug to Jan and the TL is Feb to June.


Is that confirmed? I thought they were still deciding on a format after this year. Maybe they did and I missed it though.

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby Hinato » Wed, 16 Oct 2019, 16:53

4N wrote:
Tobar wrote:They are changing the timing so the new league is Aug to Jan and the TL is Feb to June.


Is that confirmed? I thought they were still deciding on a format after this year. Maybe they did and I missed it though.


Conférence de presse de Katsuyuki Kiyomiya le 18 novembre.

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby 4N » Wed, 16 Oct 2019, 16:57

Merci :thumbup:

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby Tobar » Wed, 16 Oct 2019, 18:03

thatrugbyguy wrote:
Tobar wrote:
They are changing the timing so the new league is Aug to Jan and the TL is Feb to June.

What I don’t see anyone mentioning is the fact that this league provides a terrific opportunity for Fijian, Samoan and Tongan players to play in a league that isn’t the Top 14 and pays very well. The timing is odd because the entire season runs concurrent with the SH test window, however these players will not have the same pressure to miss out on test matches or world cups for a contract in France because there are now 12 more clubs in Japan likely willing to pay for their services as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if Japan was their first choice for a contract anyway - shorter season and better time zone.

At the end of the day, this means more opportunities for more players.


It's a big opportunity for the entire Asia/Pacific region. If Japanese clubs are willing to allow the players to be available for international duties then they are going to lure a lot of the Islander talent. This may very well force European clubs into release pressure on players to make themselves unavailable to the national teams because they'll be able to get a better deal closer to home. Not only will the pay be as good as in Europe, but they won't have to sacrifice commitment to the national teams either. Not to mention, as you say, they are only a short flight away from home. Closer to family and friends will be a big deal for a lot of players.


If the league ran at the same time as Super Rugby (Feb to Jun) then I'd assume that they are completely open to PI players leaving for international duty (July to Nov). But the league runs at that time so it's a bit odd, that's my biggest question/concern about the league. It would have the chance to be a huge game changer for Southern Hemisphere rugby if the calendar aligns itself better and would be the go-to market for Pacific Islanders.

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby Immenso » Wed, 16 Oct 2019, 21:44

thatrugbyguy wrote:
Tobar wrote:
They are changing the timing so the new league is Aug to Jan and the TL is Feb to June.

What I don’t see anyone mentioning is the fact that this league provides a terrific opportunity for Fijian, Samoan and Tongan players to play in a league that isn’t the Top 14 and pays very well. The timing is odd because the entire season runs concurrent with the SH test window, however these players will not have the same pressure to miss out on test matches or world cups for a contract in France because there are now 12 more clubs in Japan likely willing to pay for their services as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if Japan was their first choice for a contract anyway - shorter season and better time zone.

At the end of the day, this means more opportunities for more players.


It's a big opportunity for the entire Asia/Pacific region. If Japanese clubs are willing to allow the players to be available for international duties then they are going to lure a lot of the Islander talent. This may very well force European clubs into release pressure on players to make themselves unavailable to the national teams because they'll be able to get a better deal closer to home. Not only will the pay be as good as in Europe, but they won't have to sacrifice commitment to the national teams either. Not to mention, as you say, they are only a short flight away from home. Closer to family and friends will be a big deal for a lot of players.


But current Top League is 16 teams, this proposed new league is 12 teams. So, not neccesarily more T2 (or PI) opportunities.

Plus Top League has promotion/relegation. So must be a few teams at yo-yoing between divisions who have a few professionals.

To illustrate this point. From the most recent Top League season.

The current champions - Kobelco:
17 foreign players (including 3 naturalised Tongans)

2 relegated teams from 2018/19:
Coca-Cola Red Sparks - 12 foreign players (including 2 naturalised PI eligible NZers)
Toyota Industries Shuttles - 11 foreign players

There are plenty of professional opportunities already in Japan, for PI players and others, spread over I'm guessing 20 odd teams.

This proposed league would lift the standard of player active in that league.

There should be more opportunites to be combine international duties with the proposed Japanese league, as this league is likely 22 rounds plus playoffs. Where as European leagues are 22 or 26 rounds, plus playoffs, plus Europe (9 weekends)

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby Tobar » Wed, 16 Oct 2019, 22:20

Your assumption is that Top League offers the same amount of opportunities that this new league will. The majority of TL squads are Japanese players with around 5-10 foreign players, most of which are either Sunwolves players or big name All Blacks. And half the squad are semi-pro players who are unfit for national team selection.

To my knowledge, there is only 1 national team player for Fiji, Samoa or Tonga playing in the Top League and it's the 37 year old Tusi Pisi. The best players are in England and France because that's where they get paid the most. If there were really professional opportunities then there would be tons of Pacific Islanders playing in the Top League. And if the new Japanese league can pay players anywhere near where they think that they can, then players will flock there.

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby TheStroBro » Thu, 17 Oct 2019, 00:20

The Top League is how Japan transformed, so to say that all of those players are unfit for selection is a tad disingenuous. That would a real test, see the Top League Champion against the MLR Champion. The amount of IP that Japanese Rugby has absorbed in a decade and a half from bringing in top level coaches will continue to drive their development.

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby thatrugbyguy » Thu, 17 Oct 2019, 01:14

If the new Japanese league is paying anything close to the type of money a player can earn in Europe then you'll see Pacific Island players flocking there.

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby ihateblazers » Thu, 17 Oct 2019, 01:56

I think that Pacific Islanders find Japanese culture a lot more similar to their own than France as well.

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby thatrugbyguy » Thu, 17 Oct 2019, 02:45

Let's say each pro team has on average 7 foreign players, and 4 of those players from the pacific islands, that's 48 additional players from the pacific with professional contracts, more than 3 starting XV's teams worth.

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby Immenso » Thu, 17 Oct 2019, 04:11

Tobar wrote:Your assumption is that Top League offers the same amount of opportunities that this new league will. The majority of TL squads are Japanese players with around 5-10 foreign players, most of which are either Sunwolves players or big name All Blacks. And half the squad are semi-pro players who are unfit for national team selection.

To my knowledge, there is only 1 national team player for Fiji, Samoa or Tonga playing in the Top League and it's the 37 year old Tusi Pisi. The best players are in England and France because that's where they get paid the most. If there were really professional opportunities then there would be tons of Pacific Islanders playing in the Top League. And if the new Japanese league can pay players anywhere near where they think that they can, then players will flock there.


That's really interesting. I have in my head that Japanese club rugby is a usual supplier to PI RWC squads. So I looked it up.

This is because the 1990s and 2000s is what is freshest in my memory.

There has been a real decline in PI RWC players employed in the Japanese Top League.

1999 10
2003 12
2007 9
2011 3
2015 3
2019 1

E.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_Rugb ... Cup_squads

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby Immenso » Thu, 17 Oct 2019, 04:27

On the subject of what leagues are supplying the RWC squads, saw some interesting tables at the bottom of this page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_Rugb ... Cup_squads

Click on the link above to see in readable format.

Pro14: 118 19.0%
Super Rugby: 118 19.0%
Top 14 (France): 78 12.5%
Premiership Rugby (England): 74 11.9%
Major League Rugby: 37 5.9%
Top League (Japan): 32 5.1%
Rugby Premier League (Russia): 31 5.0%
Namibia (Welwichtas): 20 3.2%
Campeonato Uruguayo de Rugby: 16 2.5%
Pro D2 (France): 16 2.5%
RFU Championship (England): 13 2.0%
Global Rapid Rugby: 10 1.6%
Didi 10 (Georgia): 9 1.5%
Other: 28 4.5%
Unattached: 20 3.2%

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby Tobar » Thu, 17 Oct 2019, 12:35

Immenso wrote:
Tobar wrote:Your assumption is that Top League offers the same amount of opportunities that this new league will. The majority of TL squads are Japanese players with around 5-10 foreign players, most of which are either Sunwolves players or big name All Blacks. And half the squad are semi-pro players who are unfit for national team selection.

To my knowledge, there is only 1 national team player for Fiji, Samoa or Tonga playing in the Top League and it's the 37 year old Tusi Pisi. The best players are in England and France because that's where they get paid the most. If there were really professional opportunities then there would be tons of Pacific Islanders playing in the Top League. And if the new Japanese league can pay players anywhere near where they think that they can, then players will flock there.


That's really interesting. I have in my head that Japanese club rugby is a usual supplier to PI RWC squads. So I looked it up.

This is because the 1990s and 2000s is what is freshest in my memory.

There has been a real decline in PI RWC players employed in the Japanese Top League.

1999 10
2003 12
2007 9
2011 3
2015 3
2019 1

E.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_Rugb ... Cup_squads


Must be because salaries in Europe are going up so all the top players are headed elsewhere. Still some PIs over in Japan but none in any consideration for their national teams.

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby sk 88 » Thu, 17 Oct 2019, 13:18

I believe Pisi plays in the Japanese second division the "Top Challenge League".

I thought there was something about this Japanese league having 30 clubs across 3 divisions, or am I confusing that with some proposed reform of the Top League that didn't happen?

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby Working Class Rugger » Thu, 17 Oct 2019, 16:44

sk 88 wrote:I believe Pisi plays in the Japanese second division the "Top Challenge League".

I thought there was something about this Japanese league having 30 clubs across 3 divisions, or am I confusing that with some proposed reform of the Top League that didn't happen?


Yeah. That's the proposed reform of the TL.

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby Hinato » Mon, 21 Oct 2019, 17:44

Les Sunwolves vont intégrer la Pro League en 2021 et seront basés à Fukuoka! http://www.japonrugby.net/les-sunwolves ... n-2021.php

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby tryman » Mon, 21 Oct 2019, 19:08

While Japan's recent World Cup exploits are rumors of a return of the Japanese Super Rugby franchise, Katsuyuki Kiyomiya is advancing his pawns for his big project, which he will unveil on November 18. The Sunwolves will join the future Pro League Japan (pro closed league) in 2021 and will move to Fukuoka!

The franchise, now led by the Japanese Naoya Okubo, will be like other teams its training center and will evolve in the Level-5 Stadium (22,563 seats). This change sees Suntory Sungoliath (very interested in joining the future league), pole position to play now in the capital of the country, Tokyo. The move from Sunwolves from Tokyo to Fukuoka should be followed by other clubs as the cities of Oita and Kumamoto do not have any.

Same for Sapporo in the big island of Hokkaido all the north. Panasonic Wild Knights on the other hand will be based in Kumagaya. An announcement known for a few years already. The Japanese Pro League could have more than 12 clubs for its launch in 2021 according to the leaders of the Japan Rugby Football Union. The Top League would cease to exist after the 2020 season and would give way to the top national level of corporate clubs where mainly play Japanese players.

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby tryman » Mon, 21 Oct 2019, 19:13

Thank you Hinato, I converted into English for others.

It’s extremely important Japan capitalize on the support they have gained during the World Cup. It has been reported from Japanese and New Zealand journalists that Japan could be entered into the rugby championship. Reading in between the lines I wonder did a Japanese tv company speak to SANZAR and say they would pay big bucks for tv rights. That would be the only thing to turn the heads of the SANZAR nations. Also the Sunwolves might stay in Super Rugby however that might not make sense if the new pro league commences in 2021.

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby iul » Mon, 21 Oct 2019, 19:22

Why do they need a new league though? Why not simply pay the players more at the current teams, or new clubs could get formed by whoever wanted tobform them and then let them rise through the leagues at their own pace.
Rugby has a its own special way of over complicating everything.

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby 4N » Mon, 21 Oct 2019, 19:33

If you change the names, team locations, go fully pro, get a new broadcast deal, aim for much larger crowds etc what’s the point of keeping the Top League brand? They want a new image and the higher profile that Japanese soccer got when the J League launched. Makes sense to me.

It’s franchise based so there won’t be any “rising through the leagues.” Telling a big market like Sapporo to start a club and wait several years after the World Cup enthusiasm has faded away to join the top flight is a terrible idea.

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby victorsra » Mon, 21 Oct 2019, 20:06

4N wrote:If you change the names, team locations, go fully pro, get a new broadcast deal, aim for much larger crowds etc what’s the point of keeping the Top League brand? They want a new image and the higher profile that Japanese soccer got when the J League launched. Makes sense to me.

It’s franchise based so there won’t be any “rising through the leagues.” Telling a big market like Sapporo to start a club and wait several years after the World Cup enthusiasm has faded away to join the top flight is a terrible idea.


Pretty much this. Top League teams are companies' representatives, not cities'. They want to base the support for the teams on city/region-basis, which means they want a different logic for the teams. They'll say: we want a team in this city, so who want to be in charge of it? The owner could be a company already involved in the Top League (being basicaly the sequence of their team, only perhaps based on a different place) or a new one. They are not complicating anything. They are solving all Top League's problems. Pretty much exactly like what soccer's J-League did in the early 90s. Soccer in Japan before J-League was like rugby now (but with less success).
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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby Tobar » Mon, 21 Oct 2019, 20:25

The other thing to remember is that not all of the Top League wants to join. So they have to break off to form their own league with the 6 TL teams and the 6 new teams (or whatever the number is).

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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby victorsra » Mon, 21 Oct 2019, 20:52

Top League currently has 16 teams.
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Re: New Japanese pro league

Postby TheStroBro » Mon, 21 Oct 2019, 22:17

Should the Japanese be added to The Rugby Championship, they would have to shift the entire calendar of the proposed league from an Autumn-Winter to a Winter-Summer like Super Rugby is currently aligned now. Why? Because they'd be placed on the Southern Hemisphere schedule keep their national on that schedule in perpetuity: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/rugby-wo ... eturn.html

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