Is This The Future Of Rugby?



It’s no secret, that apart from a handful of XVs games and of course the HSBC World Rugby 7s Series, rugby in general is becoming boring and leaking fans at an alarming rate.

Witness the empty seats at every stadium during the just-completed Super Rugby season, apart from the Super Rugby game of the year between the Chiefs and the Crusaders in Suva, fans stayed away in droves in New Zealand, South Africa and especially in Australia.

In fact, don’t be surprised if at the first chance they get – the South Africans will kiss Super Rugby good bye and join the PRO14 competition in Europe.

Super Rugby just isn’t as exciting and entertaining as it was when the likes of Carlos Spencer and Rupeni Caucaunibuca were running around – in summary, it just isn’t super anymore.

So why not throw in a Pacific Island team that could very well light up the competition and bring back the flair it was once known for?

Witness the way the Fiji Drua team has electrified the National Australian Championship and jolted club rugby in Australia back to life.

The simple yet sad truth is that it comes down to growth.

When you and I think about growth within the game, we think about giving tier 2 and 3 rugby nations a chance to grow. Unfortunately, rugby has become big business now so when they talk about growth, it’s really only about tier 1 rugby nations growing their finances mainly by taking their test matches to new markets.

Every sport does it these days. European football teams take games to soccer crazy America and NFL teams now play at least two games a year in London to sold out stadiums.

Ireland regularly play in Chicago and the All Blacks and Wallabies have played Bledisloe Cup games in Hong Kong and Tokyo, but won’t tour the islands, and no matter how much we scream and shout, the reality is it will probably never happen.

Only a few months ago World Rugby tried to implement a new world tournament with the best international teams, except they tried to leave top 10 Fiji out. This further shows the direction in which the game and all the tier one nations are heading towards.

So what does this mean for Fiji and the other Pacific Island teams? Fiji in particular has shown we can successfully host top-level games and fill out stadiums as is regularly done for the yearly Super Rugby game.

But regular top international test matches are a totally different ball game. Even with all the upgrades, there’s still the issue of travel times as only Australia and New Zealand are close enough for travel to not be a recovery and performance issue during an already busy rugby calendar year.

The answer for our Pacific Islands could be in the newly created Global Rapid Rugby and RugbyX. Rapid rugby is the brainchild of Andrew Forrest in an attempt to save the Western Force and create a more exciting, faster and entertaining version of the game.

RugbyX is set to launch its first tournament this October in London and there’s no surprise Ben Ryan is involved as technical director. He’s one of the best minds in the game when it comes to evolving and developing it into something more entertaining and enjoyable for both fans and players.

Both versions are fast, entertaining, exciting, promote and reward the willingness to play running rugby. Not only are they new products, they may also create new markets both geographically and demographically, which could prove very lucrative in a few years.

Both versions are tailor made for our Pacific Island style of rugby and Rapid Rugby in particular could be a way for our teams to get regular tests outside of the PNC and November windows.

It may be sometime before the quality of teams involved in Rapid Rugby grows but it shouldn’t take too long and what it does provide is that all-important time together as a group. Both tournaments could be great pathways for development 7s and 15s teams as well.


  • Smaller pitch – 55m x 32m with 5m try lines
  • Five players a side, ten minute games
  • Rolling substitutions
  • No kick offs
  • No conversions
  • No competitive scrums and lineouts
  • This all amounts to 25% of ball in play time and with only five players a side, teams can’t commit too many to rucks and may want to avoid rucks altogether.

Sounds like the perfect version for a Fijian team and one we may even be better suited to than 7’s!

Global Rapid Rugby

  • 35min halves with time limits on scrums and lineouts.
  • Rolling substitutions with teams able to make up to ten switches during a match.
  • Bonus point for winning by three or more tries.
  • Scoring four or more tries also results in a bonus point.
  • Losing by five points or less results in a defensive bonus point.
  • Nine point tries when a team starts attacking from inside its own 22m and there isn’t a change in possession on their way to scoring. This is called a power try and doesn’t need to be converted. If the opposition deliberately gives away a penalty during any attempt at a power try, the power try stays alive when the attacking team resumes play.
  • The ball cannot be kicked out on the full from inside the 22. Play will restart with an opposition lineout from where the kick was taken.
  • If a kick is taken from between the try line and 10m and the ball bounces into touch inside the opposition 22m, the kicking team gets the ball back.
  • A red card offender goes off for 20mins and is replaced by a substitute player after serving his time.

by Randall Kamea

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