The Asia Pacific Dragons are the latest team to express their interest in joining an expanded Super Rugby competition.

The Hong Kong-based Dragons were first formed as an exhibition side in 2011 and last year competed alongside teams from Fiji and Samoa in Global Rapid Rugby.

They missed out to the Sunwolves six years ago in their first attempt at joining the Super competition.

The General Manager of owners Carinat Sports Marketing, Sam Lawrence, said it was a good bid to lose.

“There was no real time for the Sunwolves to build a successful team or commercial programme and I think if you’re on the back foot from the start it’s virtually impossible to claw back,” he said.

“I think the key learning for us is definitely patience [and] giving yourself enough time to build success. If our team is given the nod ahead to go to the Super Rugby then it’s all about success, on the field and off the field, so we need to give ourselves enough time to make sure we’ve got a sustainable commercial programme in place.”

New Zealand Rugby is keen to add a Pacific team to the Super Rugby mix and is currently considering expressions of interest from a range of bids, including the Dragons and the team behind the Kanaloa Hawaii team in Major League Rugby.

But Sam Lawrence said they were not ready to enter a team next year and had submitted a bid to join in 2022.

“Our proposal is for 2022 and I only allow everyone time to ensure huge success,” he said.

“You’ve got to look at all aspects from player recruitment, squad time, commercial preparations, working with the grass roots is another avenue that we see which is hugely important so therefore we really aren’t interested in 2021.”

SOURCE – RADIO NZ

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