The ACT Brumbies are preparing for a five team domestic competition after the Japan Sunwolves were ruled out of the Australian Super Rugby reboot.
Rugby Australia and the Japanese franchise released a joint statement on Monday that confirmed the Sunwolves had almost certainly played their last game of Super Rugby.
Strict travel restrictions and quarantine measures proved too difficult to overcome for the Tokyo-based Sunwolves, who would have raced the clock to be ready for the proposed July 3 kick-off.
They would have been required to complete a 14-day quarantine on their arrival in Australia and establish a permanent base for the duration of the 12-week competition.
Rugby Australia interim CEO Rob Clarke said while the organisation had hoped to include Japan in the revamped competition, it wasn't feasible under current circumstances.
"There are significant challenges facing the Sunwolves' participation in this modified competition model which Rugby Australia, SANZAAR and the Sunwolves have been attempting to work through," Clarke said.
"However, the reality is, given the timeframe available the team's preparation for the competition would be severely compromised.
"All parties agree that despite our collective efforts and desire to see the Sunwolves take part in the competition, under the current circumstances their participation will not be feasible."
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Their omission means Rugby Australia can start locking in plans for a five-team competition featuring the Brumbies, NSW Waratahs, Queensland Reds, Melbourne Rebels and Western Force.
It's expected Rugby Australia will announce the competition's draw within the week, pending on approval from broadcaster Fox Sports.
The Brumbies are touted to launch their season in Canberra against the Rebels and will ramp up their preparations when they start full-contact training this week.
Now the Brumbies have clarity on what teams are involved, chief executive Phil Thomson says they can start progressing their plans for the Super Rugby AU season.
"As we move through the rest of this month we'll be looking at locking down the logistics involved with the new competition," Thomson said.
"Everyone enjoyed the start of rugby league last weekend, so with rugby and other sports coming up it's very positive for everyone.
"It's always been the plan to graduate into contact training and have a good month's preparation leading into the competition's start."