Is this rugby's IPL? Big names behind new rugby format

Publish Date
Wednesday, 8 September 2021, 8:14AM
Mark Mitchell

Mark Mitchell

Fifteens, thirteens, tens, nines, sevens and now a dozen.

A new international rugby code called the World 12s has been launched.

The inaugural men's tournament, featuring eight 24-player squads, will be staged across three weeks in England next August with the women's first event taking place a year later.

The games will be 30 minutes, with six forwards and six backs on the field. An Indian Premier League type auction will be used to pick the players.

It faces a hurdle securing players however with the inaugural tournament clashing with the Rugby Championship and the pre-season in the Northern Hemisphere.

It is hoped up to $485m will be generated by competition over the next five years, according to reports.

A Global 10s tournament including Super Rugby teams and sides from France, Japan and Samoa took place in 2017 and 2018, won by the Chiefs and Blues respectively, but only lasted the two seasons.

The Telegraph reports ambassadors for the new code include coaches Steve Hansen and Jake White, while former New Zealand Rugby boss Steve Tew is a non-executive director. Former Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie is acting as chairman.

"World 12s is a natural evolution for rugby union," Ritchie said. "We feel that this is a game for our changing, fast-paced world that can excite a global fan base in the way that we have seen with the IPL or most recently The Hundred," Ritchie told the Telegraph.

"The key thing here is all sports need innovation, all sports need to change, they need to adapt to a new environment, to new audiences and we believe that's fundamental. We need to attract new people to watch, we need to be fast, exciting, innovative and entertaining."

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission