Global Rapid Rugby will expand into a home-and-away competition in 2020, with Asia Pacific teams competing for AU$1 million in prize money.
Just hours before the final game of a successful 2019 Showcase Series, Rapid Rugby Founder Andrew Forrest AO reaffirmed his commitment to the sport in WA and the Asia Pacific region.
“We decided to use 2019 to introduce the Asia Pacific to Global Rapid Rugby’s brand of the game and this proved to be a good call. The players loved it, communities embraced it and it has been great for rugby,” Mr Forrest said.
“We have formed the strong foundation needed and look forward to bringing Rapid Rugby’s innovative and entertaining game style back to our region’s growing fan base, with AU$1 million in prize money.”
In a reflection of the strength of this announcement, Western Force Head Coach Tim Sampson, and Captain Ian Prior, have re-signed to lead the team.
Foundation team, Western Force, will remain a central pillar of the 2020 competition.
Confirmation of Rapid Rugby’s inaugural home-and-away season comes as Australia prepares to play an historic Bledisloe Cup contest against New Zealand before a record 65,000 strong crowd in Perth, Western Australia.
Mr Forrest took the opportunity to remind Rugby Australia that while Western Australia was proud to host the contest, the one-off event was not enough to secure the future of the game in the state.
“Saturday night’s turnout will be a timely reminder to the nation that Western Australia is a critical part of the future of rugby not just in this country but across the entire region,” he said.
“It’s the people of Western Australia that have kept the sport alive in this state – they have continued to form the Sea of Blue, they have backed Rapid Rugby, they will demonstrate amazing support for the Wallabies here tomorrow night and prove to Rugby Australia that WA will always be a Force in this game.”