Panasonic Wild Knights will once again fly the flag for Japan at the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens, organizers said Wednesday when announcing the teams for the 2018 tournament.
The tournament, to be held on Feb. 9-10 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, will feature 10 Super Rugby teams from New Zealand and Australia, Samoa, Panasonic and two new sides in French club team Pau and Fiji.
"Pau have already confirmed that (former All Black) Conrad Smith will be in their line-up and they'll be bringing a side stacked full of international talent," tournament chief executive Rachael Carroll said.
"And we're also delighted to have Fiji taking part. There was a very strong Fijian presence across the 14 teams last year so it's fitting that Fiji will now join Samoa, Pau and Japan's Panasonic Wild Knights at the tournament."
Robbie Deans' Panasonic beat Australian Super Rugby teams the Waratahs and Melbourne Rebels in pool play at the 2017 tournament before going down 12-7 to eventual finalists and Super Rugby champions the Crusaders in a tense quarterfinal.
"We were very proud of our efforts earlier this year and we are thrilled to have been asked to return," Deans said. "It was our goal to prove that Japanese rugby clubs can compete with some of the best teams on the planet and we believe we achieved that."
The Wild Knights are set to once include a mix of veterans such as Berrick Barnes and Daniel Heenan and young up and coming talent. However, the final make-up of the squad for Brisbane will not be known until the Sunwolves announce which Panasonic players they will be using for the 2018 season.
With last year's tournament played in soaring heat, organizers have revamped the schedule at the iconic Suncorp Stadium to a day-night format, with matches to begin in the afternoon and run into the evenings.
"We've got an incredible amount of top class rugby talent lining up to take part -- and with the move to a day-night format -- Brisbane will be in full party mode. The 2018 Brisbane Global Rugby Tens will be an unmissable event," said Carroll.