Japan rugby rebrand leaves some tongue-tied

taipeitimes.com -- Jan 06

Japan's rugby union season starts tomorrow with big ambitions, tongue-twister team names and a rebrand that has left some fans wondering which version of the sport they are to be watching.

Japanese rugby chiefs want to create “the best league in the world” with 2019 World Rugby Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit, and Australians Samu Kerevi and Quade Cooper among the foreign talent on show.

Organizers also plan to invite southern hemisphere teams to play Japanese clubs in special “cross-border matches.”

However, the rugby union competition’s new name — Japan Rugby League One — has confused some with its apparent reference to the 13-a-side version of the game.

Others have been left tongue-tied by rebranded team names such as NTT Communications Shining Arcs Tokyo-Bay Urayasu and NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes Osaka.

The three-tier Japan Rugby League One — which replaces the old Top League — is to launch with a showpiece opener at Tokyo’s Olympic stadium.