A Valke team based in Kuala Lumpur will take part in the inaugural season of the Global Rapid Rugby competition beginning in March 2020.
The breakaway competition, which will be contested by six teams, was established as a result of the Perth-based Western Force being axed from Vodacom Super Rugby in 2017.
The innovative, 10-round competition will feature teams from Fiji, Samoa, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Australia and is the brainchild of Western Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest.
According to the tournament’s website, the Malaysia Valke will comprise ‘some of both South Africa’s and Malaysia’s best domestic talent’. The five confirmed teams are the Western Force, Fijian Latui, Manuma Samoa, South China Tigers and Malaysia Valke. The sixth, Asia-based team is still to be confirmed.
The competition is based on traditional 15s rugby but will feature several innovations in terms of points-scoring and rule variations, meant to encourage an attacking brand of rugby and discourage kicks for touch.
Bonus points will be awarded for a ‘power try’ when a team’s attacking movement starts from inside their defensive 22m area.
Lineout throws for most kicks that go directly into touch will be taken from where the kicker’s position was, placing further emphasis on keeping the ball in play.
Matches have been cut by 10 minutes, with 35-minute halves, while rolling substitutions will also be allowed to keep the play flowing.
Global Rapid Rugby CEO Mark Evans said the new league was constructed to expand rugby’s appeal to both traditionalists and new fans of the sport.
‘We are thrilled to be able to inject the excitement and energy of Rapid Rugby’s first home-and-away competition into these territories within the Asia Pacific region in 2020,’ said Evans.
‘In particular, providing Fiji and Samoa with access to a full-scale, international competition is an enormous result for the sport worldwide.’
The competition concludes with a one-off final in early June, where the winning team will walk away with A$1 million (R10 million) in prize money.
Photo: Rapid Rugby Website