A Showcase Series will launch revolutionary sporting brand Global Rapid Rugby in the Asia Pacific region in 2019, featuring a combination of innovative new rules and spectacular off-field entertainment.
Since gaining World Rugby approval to stage an elite-level competition in mid-November last year, the Rapid Rugby management team has worked to ensure the inaugural home-and-away season provides the very best on and off-field sport and entertainment.
That tight time frame and the intricacies of a World Cup year have led to a decision to commence the inaugural 8-team, 56 game home-and-away season in 2020.
In 2019, the Showcase Series will travel throughout Asia, the Pacific Islands and Australasia to give fans, viewers, players and coaches a live taste of what is to come in Season One in 2020, when teams will compete for an AUD$1 million first prize.
Rapid Rugby founder Andrew Forrest says he always knew organising 60 games of high-quality rugby in eight international territories in just 15 weeks was a tough ask, but he’s now more convinced than ever that Rapid Rugby and its innovative and entertaining game style will be a huge success with sports lovers everywhere.
“In 2019, fans are going to get a real feel for how the entertainment experience we pioneered in Australia last year will evolve throughout the Asia Pacific. It will form a runway for the launch of an even bigger investment in 2020, once strong broadcasting arrangements are in place,” Forrest explained.
“Making Rapid Rugby a reality has required a considerable amount of courage and determination. That determination, and our vision, has not changed. The strategy required to realise it requires a strong foundation.”
Rapid Rugby Head of Rugby Matt Hodgson will continue to work with marquee players around 2019 and 2020.
“Rapid Rugby is going to be huge, and the Showcase Series will prove it. We will take our brand around our region to ensure everyone can get up close to Rapid Rugby and everything it has to offer ahead of the first full series,” Hodgson said.
“Like me, the players and teams were ready to go but I am confident the 2019 series will be a great demonstration of what a full season of increased ball-in-play time, attacking, aggressive, high scoring rugby will look like.”
Brad Paatsch led the Global Rapid Rugby management team in gaining World Rugby approval last year and will now work with the many teams, unions, venues, broadcast and commercial partners engaged so far to complete the final details of the 2019 Showcase.
“Our goal remains a big one, but we have long been determined to extend the limits of what is considered possible, in line with our philosophy to shake up the sport, its appeal in Asia and the overall off-field entertainment factor,” Paatsch said.
“With the World Cup in Japan this year, now is the ideal time to capitalise on a growing interest in the sport in our region.”
The 2019 Rapid Rugby Showcase Series schedule will be finalised next month.