Global Rapid Rugby

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Global Rapid Rugby
Current season
2019 Global Rapid Rugby season
Global Rapid Rugby logo.png
SportRugby union
Instituted2018; 1 year ago (2018)
Inaugural season2018
Number of teams6
Hong Kong

Global Rapid Rugby is an international rugby union competition that launched a showcase series for six professional teams in 2019, played in locations across the Asia-Pacific region.[1] Rapid Rugby matches are slightly shorter than the traditional 80 minutes and have other variations from standard rugby laws that are intended to increase the speed of the game.[1]

The competition was conceived and is supported by the Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest.[2] It was devised after the Western Force rugby team based in Perth, Western Australia was dropped from the Australian Super Rugby Conference. [3]



Following SANZAAR's decision to reduce the number of Super Rugby teams for 2018, the Australian Rugby Union (now Rugby Australia) announced in August 2017 that the Western Force would be one of the teams cut from the 2018 competition. In the following month, Perth-based businessman Andrew Forrest announced that he would create a new tournament called the Indo Pacific Rugby Championship which would include the Western Force and five other teams from the Indo-Pacific region.[4]

For the 2018 season, the competition was launched as World Series Rugby, played as a series of exhibition matches as the precursor to a wider Asia-Pacific competition planned for 2019.[5] The newly-reformed Western Force played international teams from Hong Kong, Samoa, and Tonga along with Super Rugby teams the Crusaders and Melbourne Rebels, Japanese Top League team Panasonic Wild Knights, and the Fiji Warriors, the second-tier national side. The series began on 4 May 2018.[5][6][7]

Rapid Rugby brand launched[edit]

The competition was re-branded in November 2018 as Global Rapid Rugby[8] with news that the 2019 competition would include eight teams from Australia, Fiji, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Samoa, Singapore and another country yet to be named, backed by a private consortium, widely expected to be United States (Hawaii).[9] Further expansion to countries including China, India, the United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka and Korea was projected for the 2021 season onwards.[10] The Hong Kong Rugby Union was appointed the governing body for the competition.[9]


Six teams were announced for the Rapid Rugby Showcase series in 2019: [11]

Team City Stadium Capacity Head coach
Singapore Asia Pacific Dragons Singapore Queenstown Stadium 3,800 Ryan Martin
Fiji Fijian Latui Lautoka Churchill Park 9,500 Senirusi Seruvakula
Samoa Kagifa Samoa Auckland[a] Pukekohe Stadium 12,000 Darryl Suasua
Brisbane[a] Ballymore 18,000
Hong Kong South China Tigers Hong Kong Aberdeen Stadium 9,000 Craig Hammond
Australia Western Force Perth HBF Park 20,500 Tim Sampson
 [b] World XV     Robbie Deans
  1. ^ a b Due to construction at Apia Park for the Pacific Games, Samoa's home matches were moved to Auckland and Brisbane.[11]
  2. ^ Invitational team run by the promoter behind the Barbarians, selected from established internationals and rising players.[12]

Law variations[edit]

Law variations for 2018 Rapid Rugby include:[10][13][14][15]

  1. Matches last 70 minutes (compared with 80 minutes under the standard rugby union laws),
  2. Time limits for scrums (1 minute) and lineouts (45 seconds to set),
  3. Teams cannot gain ground when kicking direct to touch, even from within their 22. Kicking to touch from inside the 22 is the same as the World Rugby law for outside the 22.
  4. A 9-point 'power try' for attacks launched within 22 meters of the scoring team's own try line.

Super Rugby in Australia averages around 30-minutes of ‘ball-in-play’ per match. However, the matches in 2018 World Series Rugby – the precursor to Rapid Rugby – had a comparable 'ball-in-play' time almost 30% greater.[10]


Global Rapid Rugby aims to attract about 20 of the world’s top 100 rugby players with marquee contracts to be spread across the eight franchises. There is no salary cap in place for the competition.[16].

Media coverage[edit]

Rapid Rugby currently has live broadcast television coverage in 18 countries across Asia and Oceania.[17] Live streaming and video on demand services reach additional viewers within some Asia-Pacific countries, while Rapid Rugby's own website provides live streams and highlight packages to other regions worldwide.[17]

For the 2019 showcase series, nine of the fourteen matches over the season will be televised.[18] Fox Sports in Australia and related companies Star Sports and Fox Sports Asia will provide the live coverage.[17]

National broadcaster SBS will show all nine of these matches live on free-to-air television across Australia via its SBS Viceland channel and will also stream through SBS on Demand.[17][18] Other Rapid Rugby media partners include Kayo Sports in Australia, Sky Sport in New Zealand and Fiji TV.[17]

Broadcasters: TV and online[edit]

Country Broadcaster Type of service
Star Sports[a] Pay television
Fox Sports Asia Pay television
 Australia Fox Sports Pay television
Kayo Sports Subscription streaming
Video on demand
SBS Viceland Free-to-air television
SBS on Demand
Free streaming
 New Zealand Sky Sport[b] Pay television
 Fiji Fiji TV[c] Free-to-air television
Local channel TBC
 Papua New Guinea Fox Sports Pay television
Various local channels TBC
  All other locations Free streaming
  1. ^ Star Sports will televise some Rapid Rugby Showcase matches in 2019.
  2. ^ Sky Sport New Zealand will televise some Rapid Rugby Showcase matches in 2019.
  3. ^ Fiji TV will show the Fijian Latui games (only 3 matches televised in 2019).

Corporate relations[edit]


The 2019 showcase series does not currently have a principal naming rights partner, but major official partners include IHG Hotels & Resorts, K&L Gates and Harvey Beef.[19]

The official rugby ball supplier is Rhino Sport.[19][20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Ritchie, Joe (11 March 2019). "A Rugby Revolution for Asia and the Pacific". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 12 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Andrew Forrest doesn't back losers, we await his world series with interest". The Australian. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Western Force dumped from Super Rugby". The West Australian. 11 August 2017. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Indo Pacific Rugby Championship: Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest reveals details of new rugby competition". The Australian. 13 September 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Western Force to return to action in World Series Rugby". ESPN. 6 March 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  6. ^ "Force unveil squad, schedule for World Series Rugby". The Chronicle. 6 March 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  7. ^ "Andrew Forrest unveils Force squad, schedule for World Series Rugby". Fox Sports. 6 March 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Rapid Brand For Bold New Beginning". Rapid Rugby. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Global Rapid Rugby off and running as Western Force battle sides from around Asia". The West Australian. 15 November 2018. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  10. ^ a b c "Rapid Rugby". Rapid Rugby. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Rapid Rugby 2019 Schedule on show" (PDF) (Press release). Global Rapid Rugby. 1 March 2019. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 March 2019.
  12. ^ Taylor, Nick (9 March 2019). "Nick 'the honey badger' Cummins will return to Perth for Global Rapid Rugby showcase". The West Australian.
  13. ^ "Billionaire Andrew Forrest launches alternative competition to Super Rugby". The New Zealand Herald. 16 November 2018.
  14. ^ Thomsen, Simon (15 November 2018). "Andrew Forrest unveils 'Global Rapid Rugby', a new format aimed at reviving interest in the struggling game". Business Insider Australia.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ a b c d e "On the air, everywhere!". Rapid Rugby. 11 April 2019. Archived from the original on 12 April 2019.
  18. ^ a b "Fixtures". Rapid Rugby. Archived from the original on 15 April 2019. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  19. ^ a b "Join the Rapid Rugby Revolution". Rapid Rugby. Archived from the original on 15 April 2019. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  20. ^

External links[edit]