SINGAPORE - Japan's new Super Rugby team, which will be co-based in Singapore, will be known as the Sunwolves following the official announcement on Monday.
The name, a hybrid comprising the blazing icon of the "Land of the Rising Sun" and a wolf which represents a pack hunting mentality and a dedicated team ethos of protecting one another, is the product of an initiative that saw the Japan Super Rugby Association (JRSA) engage fans from all over the world to help come up with an identity for its new team.
The new franchise will start the 2016 season with an opening match against the Lions of South Africa in Tokyo on Feb 27.
The first appearance by the Sunwolves in Singapore will be on March 12 when they host South African side the Cheetahs at the Republic's 55,000-seater National Stadium.
Singapore will stage another two Sunwolves clashes - against the Bulls (March 26) and Stormers (May 14).
Next year's Super Rugby competition has been expanded to 18 teams, with an Argentinian franchise and South African outfit, the Southern Kings, joining the Japanese side as the new clubs.
Tournament organisers Sanzar's interim chief executive Brendan Morris welcomed the Sunwolves to Super Rugby. He said: "It gives us great pleasure to welcome the Sunwolves to Super Rugby as they prepare to join our expanded competition alongside the Kings from South Africa and an Argentinian team that will be revealed shortly.
"It's an exciting time for the sport and also for fans throughout Japan who can start getting behind the brand, identity and ethos of their Super Rugby team.
"The JRSA did a tremendous job engaging the fans and we look forward to watching the nation get behind this team as it continues to take shape in the coming months."