All Systems Go for Global Rapid Rugby

The Force hold the Pacific Showcase Series trophy after winning the Rapid Rugby series in 2019 Photo: Getty Images

Global Rapid Rugby have announced that despite inherent risks from variois travel advisories causing the cancellation of sporting events around the world, it is all systems go for the second round of the modified version of rugby, with the opening round on March 14th in Perth.

Global Rapid Rugby is an international rugby union competition that incldues six professional teams including Australia, China, Fiji, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Samoa.

Manumā in Samoan is the multi-colored fruit dove (Ptilinopus perousii). The team logo includes the head of a manuma bird in profile beneath the Southern Cross.

Rapid Rugby incorporates innovative new laws and competition rules designed to increase ball-in-play time and reward attacking, free scoring play in a 70-minute match.

In 2020, Rapid Rugby’s inaugural home-and-away competition features teams competing for a
AU $1 million total prize pool.

The only minor changes will be for the home-and-away approach, now shifting Chinas home matches to account for coronavirus restrictions.

“We are ready and can’t wait to launch our competition,” Global Rapid Rugby CEO, Mark Evans, said.

“The situation in China and its effects elsewhere have meant the schedule has been amended a little but, I’m proud to say, there is not one hurdle we have not been able to overcome;

“It is all systems go for Global Rapid Rugby in 2020.”

“The health and welfare of the players, the coaches and our fans has been our number one concern and we have followed the advice of all relevant authorities, including the World Health Organisation, every step of the way.”

The major alteration to the schedule surrounds home games for the China Lions, a team jointly supported by the China Rugby Football Union and New Zealand domestic powerhouse Bay of Plenty scheduled to play three home games in Shanghai and two in Rotorua.

Restrictions on sporting teams entering China means that games can no longer be played in Shanghai. The Lions will now play three home games in New Zealand and Rapid Rugby is working closely with Rugby Australia to provide a venue for two games in Australia.

The inaugural Global Rapid Rugby home-and-away season will begin on March 14 with Fijian Latui hosting the China Lions under lights in Suva, followed by a Double Header at HBF Park in Perth.

Across in Perth for week 1 will see the Manumā Samoa kick off against Hong Kong’s South China Tigers, followed by the home town Western Force against Malaysia Valke.

“It’s exciting to think that within six hours, six teams representing the rich tradition of Australia and New Zealand, the exciting potential of Asia, and the raw talent of the Pacific Islands will be on show and growing the game of rugby,” Evans said.

How is Rapid Rugby Different?

Powering up try scoring

Who doesn’t love seeing the scoreboard tick over? Well, there’s no better way to bank points for your side than with a Power Try. Going the length of the field to score are memories that are etched in supporters’ minds and we’re encouraging more of those moments in every game.

Any try-scoring play that begins inside a team’s defensive 22 will see 9 points added without the need for a conversion. A runaway break is brilliant, but teams with the skill to keep possession and make their way down the field and dot down over the try line will also be rewarded. And if a defensive side contemplates a deliberate penalty to break up the attack they’ll need to think again, the Power Try stays alive!

No sideline safety valve

We’re encouraging the quick counter attack to be a core part the on-field arsenal. How are we doing that? Well, teams no longer have the luxury of kicking the ball out on the full within their defensive 22 to relieve pressure. Any kick that goes over the sideline on the full will be turned over to the opposition at the point of where the kick was taken from, so keeping the ball in the field of play will be the aim of the game. We’re creating more instinctive play, teams will now apply a different style in this area of the field depending on the defensive line in front of them. Watch this space – literally!

Threading the needle

Running rugby is what we’re all about, but kicking is a skill, that when executed well, can cut an opposition defence to shreds. And in Rapid Rugby it’s all about precision. Teams can take advantage of the 10/22 rule – best explained in this three-step process;

  1. Kicks must be taken from between your defensive goal and 10m line.
    • It’s important to note that play must start within this zone.
    • you can’t pass the ball backwards and then kick from the designated area!
  2. The ball must land ahead of you within the field of play.
  3. It can bounce as many times as you like but before it goes over the sideline but it must take its final bounce within your attacking 22.

What is your reward? You move down the field and pick up your attack from the point the ball bounces out! Coaches will have to decide how many players to take from the defensive line to limit the impact of attacking kicks – this one is going to be a cracker!

On and off and on again

Everyone wants to see the best players play for longer so that’s one of the reasons we’ve introduced rolling substitutions. Players can be rotated for management or tactical reasons at any time during the match and then return to the action when needed. There will be a maximum of 10 substitutions for each team during a game.

Rapid game time

To meet expectations of a rapid viewing experience at the stadium and on screens across the globe, we’ve reduced the time of each half to 35min each. That’s 10min less than a traditional rugby match is currently played, and while it might not sound like a big difference, we’ve spoken to a lot of key stakeholders in the game and they agree this simple cha nge creates a sense of urgency in a match that players and fans alike will embrace.

Points plus

We’ve also upped the ante to incentivise and reward attacking tactics and game style. Bonus points are up for grabs if your team does one or more of the following;

  • Wins by 3 or more tries = 1 bonus point
  • Scores 4 or more tries in a game = 1 bonus point
  • Lose by 5 points or less = 1 bonus point