The China Lions is a joint venture between the China Rugby Football Association and the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union in New Zealand. They will be making their Rapid Rugby debut against a talented Fijian Latui team.
Rotorua International Stadium A 20,000 seater multi-purpose stadium located in the Westbrook suburb of Rotorua, New Zealand. The stadium is predominantly used for rugby union and rugby league matches and has played host to the British & Irish Lions vs NZ Maoris, Rugby World Cup 2011 Pool Matches, and Mitre10 Cup matches.
Home: Red jersey, shorts and socks with black trim
Away: Black jersey, shorts and socks with red trim
What CEO, Mike Rogers has to say about Global Rapid Rugby
“We are really excited about the inaugural season of Global Rapid Rugby. We have assembled a strong team and expect the side to be competitive and play a dynamic brand of rugby.
“Our partnership with China Rugby Football Association is a long-term commitment to fostering rugby in China and we look forward to building a strong fan base in China over the coming seasons.”
Coach: Clayton McMillan
Clayton McMillan is Assistant Coach of the Bay of Plenty senior team, which won the 2019 Mitre 10 Championship in New Zealand. Prior to that, Rogers was head coach of the Bay of Plenty Under-19 team, which won the New Zealand national championship in 2018.
What can we expect to see from the Lions according to coach Clayton McMillan
“We are really excited about Global Rapid Rugby – it is a great opportunity for our players to showcase their ability on an international stage,”
“The innovative laws have been great for our coaching group in terms of challenging the way we approach the game and the opportunities that exist with the law changes. Kick strategy will form a large part of our experimentation over the first three games of the tournament.
“In our first game against Fijian Latui we will be up against a quality side in very challenging conditions. We know that the Fijians will be a serious contender for the inaugural title and we are under no illusions about the challenge ahead. What better way to find out where we are at with an away game against a quality side first up. We are up for the challenge!”
Players to watch
Pryor Collier – fullback An electric fullback with speed and evasion. Pryor has bulked up in the off-season and has added a physical presence to his game. He is an established Mitre 10 Cup player with Bay of Plenty and former Auckland Mitre 10 Cup.
Dwayne Sweeney – centre The most experienced player in the China Lions, Dwayne has 100 caps for Waikato in the Mitre 10 Cup, 68 appearances for the Chiefs in Super Rugby and is a former Maori All Black. Dwayne brings experienced and leadership to an exciting China Lions backline.
Fa’asiu Fuatai – wing A former All Blacks Sevens player, Fa’asiu is renowned for his speed, anticipation and line-breaking ability. He is an experienced Mitre 10 Cup player with Bay of Plenty. Stan Van den Hoven – lock Known as ‘The Dutch enforcer’ Stan, at 2.02m and 115kg, brings a real physical edge to his game as a lock. He made his debut for Bay of Plenty at Mitre 10 Cup level in 2019.
Abraham Papali’i– number eight The former Warriors and Roosters NRL player, Abraham brings power for the Lions off the back of the scrum.
March 14 vs Fijian Latui in Suva
March 21 vs Malaysia Valke in Kuala Lumpur
March 28 vs South China Tigers in Taupo, NZ
April 11 vs Manuma Samoa in Apia
April 19 vs Western Force in Adelaide
April 26 vs Malaysia Valke in Adelaide
May 3 vs Fijian Latui in Rotarua
May 9 vs South China Tigers in Hong Kong
May 17 vs Manuma Samoa in Rotarua, NZ
May 23 vs Western Force in Perth