The 18th, and final 2016 Super Rugby franchise will go to a team from either Singapore or Japan.
SANZAR confirmed on Wednesday that they are set to receive applications from both countries after a full tender before deciding which of the two will be awarded a franchise in September/October.
SANZAR CEO Greg Peters said: “We are now able to confirm that two parties from Asia will compete for the opportunity to join an expanded Super Rugby competition in 2016. Asia is a region that has been the focus of considerable investment by the International Rugby Board in recent years and is a strategically sound location for the evolution of Super Rugby.
“We were happy with the number of responses received, however the two stand-out expressions of interest that were most attractive to the SANZAR Unions were received from Japan and Singapore.
“Each bid has the support of the respective national unions and includes other interested parties who will provide commercial and business support required for a venture of this nature.”
The two bidders will have until mid-August to submit a case to SANZAR as they look to join the newly expanded Super Rugby alongside the Southern Kings from South Africa and an Argentinian side.
Japan’s head coach Eddie Jones has already raised concerns about the final spot going to a team from Singapore, claiming it would be a joke given the two nations relative standings in world rugby.
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