Ireland’s Men’s and Women’s Rugby 7’s teams are to take part in a trial internatiional indoor tournament in London on Tuesday, October 29th.
Commercial rights agency TRM yesterday announced the completed team line-up and draw for the inaugural RugbyX tournament, to be staged at the O2 in London.
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.
If successful it could potentially lead to similar tournaments being staged at the indoor arena of the Sport Ireland Campus where a full indoor pitch is permanentlt installed and on which the irish teams are able to train.
Participating teams for this inaugural tournament have been drawn from those who compete in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, alongside the Barbarians.
“We are delighted to have both the Men’s and Women’s teams competing in RugbyX,” said Anthony Eddy, IRFU Sevens and Women’s Manager.
“It will be an exciting tournament with quality opposition.”
“It provides our players with a new experience as well as valuable match practice. We are well aware there will be no easy games and we have to prepare well for the tournament and look to be at our best from game one.”
In the six-team men’s competition, Ireland will come up against hosts England and the Barbarians in Group A. France, the USA and Argentina make up Group B.
The Ireland women face the USA in their semi-final, with England and France on the other side of the draw.
The men’s group stages and women’s semi-finals will take place during the 4pm-6pm afternoon session on October 29, with the 8.30pm-10.30pm evening session featuring men’s quarter-finals and semi-finals, the women’s third place match, and the men’s and women’s grand finals.
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.
“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,” said World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper.
“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.”
The tournament has bee developed by commercial agency TRM.
“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,” said Co-Founder Harry Horsly.
“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.”
Image Credits: Dan Sheridan, Inpho.ie