The Top League championship goes to 16 clubs next season.
This is an important event that has just revealed today Tatsuzo Yabe, the president of the JRFU (Japan Rugby Football Union). Indeed, next season, that is to say 2013/2014, the Top League goes from 14 to 16 clubs.
To achieve this, the first 12 of season 2012/2013 Top League and the first two of a Top Challenge integrate the Top League season 2013/2014. The teams placed 13th and 14th championship play against teams dams third and fourth of a Top Challenge.
As for the season 2013/2014, the championship will be divided into two parties. A first phase with regular. Following this, the teams placed 1st to 8th place play-offs will incorporate, in group A. Teams finishing in the top four will then play the semifinals of the Top League.
For teams placed ninth to 16th place, they will play the play-downs, in group B. The team finishing last in Group B will be automatically demoted regional leagues A. The teams ranked fifth, sixth and seventh group B, ie 13th, 14th and 15th of Top League, will play the dams.
For Tatsuzo Yabe, this is to increase the number of games to increase the level of play of Japanese clubs, especially for the World Cup 2019. The number of meetings of Top League will move from 2013/2014 from 91 to 112.
Also new next season, the teams finishing from 5th to 12th place in the tournament wild card, which will appoint the final two teams of top league entitled to participate in the All Japan Championship.