- England drawn against Ireland and the Barbarians in group stages of exciting new format
- France, USA and Argentina will also meet in group stages of the men’s tournament
- Women’s tournament sees England, France, USA and Ireland compete for inaugural RugbyX title
Commercial rights agency TRM today announced the completed team line-up and draw for the inaugural RugbyX tournament, to be staged at The O2 in London on 29 October, 2019.
The new short-format, full contact version of rugby union was approved by World Rugby’s Executive Committee as a law trial earlier this year. The RugbyX tournament will be played on a 55m x 32m artificial grass pitch, installed on a temporary basis inside the popular music and entertainment arena.
Participating teams have been drawn from those who compete on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, alongside the Barbarians. In the men’s tournament hosts England have been drawn with Ireland and the Barbarians in Group A. France, USA and Argentina comprise Group B. The women’s competition features England v France in semi-final one and USA v Ireland in semi-final two.
The group stages and women’s semi-finals will take place during the 16:00-18:00 afternoon session, with the 20:30-22:30 evening session featuring men's quarter-finals and semi-finals, the women’s third place match, and men’s and women’s grand finals.
Fans can expect to see the likes of England’s Dan Norton, Olympic silver medallist and all-time leading try scorer in sevens, and women’s captain Abbie Brown, along with France’s Terry Bouhraoua and the USA’s double World Rugby Men's Sevens Player of the Year Perry Baker take part in the debut competition.
The core fundamentals of full contact rugby are being retained but variations of certain laws have been approved in to encourage fast and skillful game-play in an arena environment. There will be quick-tap restarts on the goal-line and no conversions. Lineouts will be replaced by a quick throw from the team in possession and matches will last 10 minutes with no half-time.
World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: “The sanctioning of RugbyX marks an exciting step on World Rugby’s journey towards making the sport more accessible, providing an important entry point for new audiences to experience the joy, speed and skill of rugby in an indoor arena environment.
“Innovation is crucial to the continuing success of any sport and RugbyX presents a great opportunity to capitalise on increasing global interest in the days immediately preceding the Rugby World Cup final in Japan.”
TRM has led development the concept in conjunction with Ben Ryan. Harry Horsley, Co-Founder and CEO of TRM, said: “We are proud to have invested in developing RugbyX which we believe will bring rugby to new audiences in the spectacular surroundings of the World’s leading entertainment destination. In due course we hope RugbyX can become a platform to promote grass roots adoption of 5 v 5 rugby in the UK and globally.”
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