It will be sad to lose Sunwolves, says ex-All Black Piri
Former All Blacks half-back Piri Weepu has said he is saddened by reports suggesting that the Sunwolves could be axed from Super Rugby.
Southern Hemisphere rugby's governing body (Sanzaar) said yesterday that it will clarify the future of Super Rugby at the end of the week, with Australian media reporting the Tokyo-based Sunwolves are to be cut from the competition.
Sanzaar said it would make an official statement on the tournament tomorrow, reported Reuters.
The Australian newspaper reported yesterday that Sanzaar had already decided to cut the struggling Sunwolves, who have won just seven of their 43 matches since joining the competition.
The report, citing an unnamed Sunwolves spokesman, said the team had objected to a request from Sanzaar to pay a Super Rugby participation fee, which is not asked of any of the other franchises.
World Cup winner Weepu told The New Paper: "It will be sad to lose them. I believe they are developing really well.
"They haven't consistently put in consecutive wins but I believe they are getting better and better. They've managed to beat a few teams...
"It shows that their rugby is a bit different but they are developing to get up to speed with every other franchise... They've turned some heads already."
A Japan Rugby Football Union source said the governing body was awaiting clarification from Sanzaar.
The Sunwolves, who are fourth in the five-team Australian conference of Super Rugby after losing four of their five games this season, were unable to provide immediate comment.
The Sunwolves joined Super Rugby in 2016, along with South Africa's Southern Kings and Argentine side Jaguares.