Western Force captain Ian Prior is enthused about Global Rapid Rugby’s introduction in 2019.Evolve now or fizzle out.
That’s the thinking behind Andrew Forrest’s Global Rapid Rugby, and Western Force skipper Ian Prior predicts it will become rugby’s version of Twenty20 cricket.
Forrest will launch his new competition in either late February or early March, with the proposed rule changes set to encourage a more free-flowing, exciting brand of rugby.
One of the new rule changes that excites Prior the most is the chance to pull off a rugby league-style 40-20 kick.
Nine-point Power Tries, rolling substitutions, and no direct kicks for touch from inside the defensive 22m will also add to the spectacle.
Prior, who stuck with the Force after it was axed from Super Rugby at the end of 2017, believes rugby needs to change to keep up with the times.
“Certain aspects of the game were probably a bit stale,” Prior said.
“Challenging the norm has been a big point (of this new competition). We want to play a high octane brand of rugby.
“When Twenty20 came about in cricket, everyone was hesitant about that. I’m a Test cricket fan myself, so I was also hesitant about Twenty20.
“But now it’s the biggest product they probably have, the biggest revenue driver.
“If you don’t evolve, your sport can fizzle out. It’s a pretty competitive sporting landscape in , so you’ve got to keep evolving.”
Forrest, who has an estimated worth of $4.4 billion, is hopeful of attracting 20 of the world’s top 100 rugby players to Global Rapid Rugby.
Marquee players will be spread across the eight franchises.
Forrest is confident the new competition will be a success, but the critics aren’t so sure.
Prior said the success of World Series Rugby this year – when the Force played seven exhibition games in front of big crowds – proved there was a hunger for something new.
“”We proved people wrong this year with World Series Rugby,” Prior said.
“They said it wouldn’t work, we wouldn’t get crowds, and we proved them wrong by having the highest representation per week in crowds.
“We’ve got new, innovative countries who want to grow the game.
“I guess with change there’s always a little bit of nervousness from other people that are outside the bubble. But being part of it is very exciting.”