Rugby: Singapore to host its 1st Super Rugby game on March 12 2016

Aerial view of the Singapore Sports Hub where the National Stadium is located at.
Aerial view of the Singapore Sports Hub where the National Stadium is located at. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

It is official: Singapore will host its first Super Rugby clash on March 12 next year.

The new Japanese franchise, which will play three of their eight home matches at the National Stadium, will face South Africa's Cheetahs that day.

According to the fixtures released by tournament organisers Sanzar yesterday, the venue will also host games against South African sides Bulls (March 26) and the Stormers (May 14).

The Japanese team have been dogged by controversy even before kicking a ball in anger.

The Straits Times reported last month that the as-yet-unnamed team have signed just two players, with the likes of Japan national captain Michael Leitch preferring to stay with rival Super Rugby outfits.

But pressure from Sanzar forced officials into action. They have since reportedly signed Queensland Reds flanker Ed Quirk and around 10 players involved in Japan's recent World Cup upset over South Africa.

Super Rugby will expand from 15 to 18 teams when the new season kicks off in February.

The National Stadium will also stage a leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series on April 16 and 17, while an exhibition match involving the British Lions is planned for early 2017.

Sanjay Nair

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2015, with the headline 'First Super Rugby game here in March'. Print Edition | Subscribe