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Plans unveiled for Global Rapid Rugby series

Joketani Koroi of Asia Pacific Dragons is tackled during the Global Rapid Rugby Showcase Series match against Western Force at Queenstown Stadium in Singapore (by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

Global Rapid Rugby, a new club competition incorporating former Super Rugby franchise Western Force, has today (Thursday) revealed plans for its debut season with teams representing Fiji, Samoa, Hong Kong and Malaysia set to compete.

The brainchild of Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest, Global Rapid Rugby originated from the furore caused by Western Force’s loss of its Super Rugby status back in August 2017. In the wake of this development, Forrest expressed his wish to form a new competition and Global Rapid Rugby began as a Perth-based exhibition series in 2018 before growing into a Showcase Series held earlier this year across seven Asia Pacific territories, featuring 70-minute matches, new rules and an emphasis on off-field entertainment for fans.

Global Rapid Rugby today said its inaugural home-and-away season will feature six teams, 10 rounds, 31 games including a one-off final, and an Aus$1m (€617,000/$679,000) total prize pool.

Five of the teams that will compete for the Global Rapid Rugby Season One title in 2020 were unveiled today and seek to represent the traditional powers of Australasia, the untapped potential of Asia and the passion and pride of the Pacific Islands.

The inaugural season will commence on March 13, with the Grand Final scheduled for Perth on either June 5 or 6. Western Force will be joined by Fijian Latui, Manuma Samoa, Hong Kong’s South China Tigers and Kuala Lumpur-based Malaysia Valke. Negotiations are nearing completion with a sixth team to be based in Asia.

Global Rapid Rugby chief executive, Mark Evans, said: “The evolution from a Showcase Series to a home-and-away season will multiply the success we enjoyed this year in many ways. In particular, providing Fiji and Samoa with access to a full-scale, international competition is an enormous result for the sport worldwide.”

Three games each round will be staged across Friday, Saturday and Sundays. Final date, time and venue details are yet to be finalised.

Evans added: “We have worked hard to ensure all teams’ travel times and days away from home are similar and I know all the teams and unions involved share our expectation around how even the competition will be.

“The ‘always entertaining’ Rapid Rugby philosophy is one of the things that sets us apart and I promise we will provide a fun, family-friendly atmosphere at all games in all venues throughout the season.”