The Roar
The Roar


How Super Rugby can send the 15-man code global

The Sunwolves are in Singapore hosting the Kings. (The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images)
Roar Guru
15th March, 2016
1620 Reads

In order to survive against the invasive attentions of European and Japanese rugby, not to mention the NRL, AFL and football, rugby needs to expand its global presence and move into new territories.

Much has been made of newly absorbed Argentina and Japan, and the next targets of the USA and Canada, but less so of more distant horizons.

Malaysia, Thailand and Sri Lanka are the three countries with significant playing numbers and in the case of the first two, rapidly growing economies. While not too much rugby is played in China, India, and Brazil, the long-term financial benefits of spreading the game here are obvious.

But how to give some exposure of rugby and, in particular, the high-octane southern hemisphere brand? The way has been shown by accidentally playing a few Super Rugby matches in Singapore.

Occasional, well-promoted encounters between visiting teams dramatically raise the presence of the game.

Kuala Lumpur would seem a natural place for such a yearly visit, with perhaps Bangkok and Colombo following. Other potential markets might also be considered. In Malaysia and Bangkok the number of expats alone would guarantee a large enough crowd for a one-off match.

Such ventures as these should be integral to a long-term strategy, whereby Super Rugby and, in its footsteps, the Rugby Championship identifies and then takes over promising new territories and creates vast, global competitions. They can spur tremendously accelerated growth.

Playing Super Rugby matches is the first stage, followed some years later by the creation of a Super team in the country, and in the end acceptance of the national team to the Rugby Championship.


It is not enough to wait for new markets to come to SANZAAR, they must be actively sought out.