'Tigers' join Rapid scrum: HKRU excited about potential of novel tournament

Sports | 16 Nov 2018

Hong Kong will take part in the inaugural Global Rapid Rugby season, where games will be played under a new format in an attempt to inject fresh excitement into the sport.

The team, to be called the South China Tigers, will compete against sides from Japan, Fiji, Samoa, Hawaii, Singapore and Malaysia as well as Perth's Western Force in the ambitious Asia-Pacific tournament founded by Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest.

But apart from fielding a team, the Hong Kong Rugby Union will provide competition management services for this groundbreaking competition through its events company, REAL Sports and Entertainment.

In one of the tournament's innovations, games will only be 70 minutes long. The focus is on attacking and high-scoring rugby.

The season will kick off in March.

"The HKRU is excited about the potential of Global Rapid Rugby," said Robbie McRobbie, the Union's chief executive.

"Participating in this innovative new competition will help further our domestic aims, including seasoning and preparing our national team members for international competition, as well as assisting in our efforts to identify and retain eligible players to represent Hong Kong."

Players from the Union's Elite Rugby Program and Elite Sevens Athletes Program will make up the Tigers.

McRobbie said it is important for Hong Kong "to seek out more and more competition at a high level."

He hailed Global Rapid Rugby as a "very positive development for Hong Kong rugby and the game in Hong Kong and across the region."

McRobbie also took pride in REAL being drafted in for competition management services.

REAL has been behind the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Bledisloe Cups in 2008 and 2010, and the first British and Irish Lions match in Asia in 2013.

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