Super Rugby: Sunwolves coach Tony Brown blames South Africa for axing

Sunwolves coach Tony Brown believes the "bad blood" between the South African and Japan Rugby Unions led to the decision for the Japanse Super Rugby franchise to be axed.

Last week, SANZAAR announced 2020 would be the Sunwolves' final season before the competition reverts to a 14-team round-robin format.

Speaking to the Fox Sports Rugby podcast, former All Black Brown claimed their demise was because the South African Rugby Union wanted to exact revenge on its Japanese counterpart for not voting for it to host the 2023 y World Cup.

Instead of voting for South Africa, Japan voted for France, who went onto win the rights to stage the global tournament.

"Nothing's easy for the Sunwolves, and obviously the devastating news that we were going to be out of the competition in 2021 is very disappointing," Brown said.

"It wasn't a big surprise, we were probably just hoping there was a slim chance we could survive and build something sustainable for years to come.

"There were so many things that went on, and the South Africans were just dead against having the Sunwolves involved.

"There's a bit of resentment from what happened at the World Cup vote a few years ago, and it's a relationship that's been pretty rough ever since the Sunwolves with Super Rugby.

Sunwolves flanker Dan Pryor.
Sunwolves flanker Dan Pryor. Photo credit: Photosport

"So many things that were against the Sunwolves and it wasn't really surprising that SANZAAR has decided not to have them involved.

"The next World Cup, France beating out South Africa for the hosting rights, I think there's a little bit of bad blood there, and various things like that counted against the Sunwolves."

SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos claimed that the Japanese Rugby Football Union wasn't able to contribute enough financially to sustain the franchise.

Marinos added that playing Super Rugby wasn't the best option for the Japanese national team, a statement which Brown disagrees with.

"I can't see Japan Top League being as effective as the Sunwolves playing in Super Rugby, at preparing guys for international rugby," Brown said.

"The last three-four years has been huge for the Japanese development as far as players being able to test themselves against some of the best players in the world."