Back again for its second year, the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens looms as an exciting start to the Southern Hemisphere rugby season.
This year, we’ll see the Australian and New Zealand Super Rugby sides, including last year’s champion the Chiefs, compete with Fiji, Japanese side Panasonic Wild Knights and French club side Pau. The women’s competition features the female equivalent of the Australian Super Rugby sides, and while this facet of the competition is yet to grow, there seems to be room to improve over the next few years.
What is the Tens?
As assumed from the name, Rugby Tens features two sides of ten players. The combination is usually five forwards and five backs. Furthermore, each half lasts ten minutes. The concept was created in Malaysia in order to help Asian players stand up better against traditional rugby playing nations. It combines the fast pace of sevens rugby with traditional elements that make sure forwards are not exposed for a lack of speed.
The three pools each consist of four sides, where teams will play in a round robin format before the top eight sides qualify for the finals. Pool A includes the Wild Knights, Brad Thorn’s Queensland Reds, the Blues and an overhauled Melbourne Rebels. Pool B features the reigning champion Chiefs, the Waratahs, the Highlanders and French giants Pau. The draw is rounded out by Pool C, which features Fiji, the Brumbies, the Hurricanes and last year’s runners-up, the Crusaders.
Naturally, after strong Super Rugby seasons, the Crusaders, Hurricanes and Chiefs will all be strong favourites to take out the title in February. Out of the Australian sides, the Melbourne Rebels appear to have the strongest list heading into the tournament. It’ll be our first look at this completely new side, who look to be a real contender for the Super Rugby title. The Brumbies finished top of the Australian conference last year, so expect them to have a big impact.
French side Pau could be a surprise packet this year. They’ll be entering the competition in the middle of their Top 14 campaign. However, last year french side Toulon failed to make the finals, with multiple factors such as the difference in conditions and playing style helping them slump to early elimination. This year Pau enter after a middling season that has seen them position themselves mid-table. Their squad features many players returning to compete against old teammates. Notable inclusions are All Blacks Conrad Smith, Colin Slade and Tom Taylor as well as former Wallaby Ben Mowen.
The competition seems to have bright future. The combination of the star 15s players with the party atmosphere of 7s is certainly a winner. It’s an exciting event and is one to look forward to.
Author: David Lind
David lives in Perth, Australia, but is a born and bred Kiwi. He spends his time between studies and running the drinks for his cricket club. His articles on the 1014 allow him to let out his rugby feelings online rather than at his mates.