World Rugby has given its approval for a new five-a-side version of the sport with an international tournament likely to be held in London this year.
The sport’s world governing body is hopeful the shortened version – Rugby X – can improve the game’s finances and boost its international appeal much like Twenty20 did for cricket, the report said.
Five more tournaments have been planned around the world for next year, with broadcaster ITV in talks to acquire rights to show the initial event to be held in London’s O2 Arena, it added.
Big moment for us today as Rugby X gets first coverage. A thrilling journey so far and very excited as media comes live, tickets go on sale etc in the next couple of months.
The world’s major rugby sevens nations including England, Australia, Wales, Fiji and France are potential participants.
Former England Sevens coach Ben Ryan has helped develop the new format, where matches last 10 minutes and are played indoors on artificial grass pitches.
Rugby X lays emphasis on quick gameplay and does not have a half-time break or change of ends, while action resumes from the defending team’s end after a try is scored.
The three-man scrums are uncontested and line-outs have been replaced by throws which will be taken by a substitute from the side which has possession.