WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Japan will take the 18th spot in an expanded Super Rugby competition from 2016.

The Japan Rugby Union was told by the executive committee of governing body SANZAR on Friday that it was preferred ahead of Singapore as the 18th team when Super Rugby expands from 15 teams in two years.

The team from Singapore, the Asia-Pacific Dragons, was likely to be coached by former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga.

The decision was "a significant step in the evolution of Super Rugby," SANZAR Chief executive Greg Peters said.

"Compelling proposals were put forth by Japan and Singapore in what was a very competitive tender process and we thank both parties for their passion in sharing our vision to expand the competition to new fans, territories and commercial markets."

SANZAR will work with Japan to finalize arrangements for its entry to Super Rugby.

"While ultimately edged out in this instance, Singapore presented a highly attractive bid, and we will maintain a positive relationship with an eye to potentially working with them in the future," Peters said.

South Africa will also likely have an additional team in 2016.