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Thread: Preview of all GRR teams 2020

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    Preview of all GRR teams 2020

    SOUTH CHINA TIGERS
    January 31, 2020
    The South China Tigers are based in Hong Kong with their squad drawn from the Hong Kong ERP programme, National 15s & 7s teams, domestic league and the Greater Bay Area.

    The Tigers have a tough start with five games on the road, starting against Manuma Samoa in Perth on March 14. They will finish the campaign with five home matches during April and May.

    Home ground

    Hong Kong National Stadium Internationally renowned as the venue for the annual Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens tournament, the stadium is the main sports venue in Hong Kong. The venue has seating capacity of 40,000.

    Playing Jersey

    Home: Orange jersey, shorts and socks with white trim.
    Away: White jersey, shorts and socks with orange trim.

    What CEO, Robbie McRobbie has to say about Global Rapid Rugby

    “Global Rapid Rugby is raising the bar for sports entertainment in the Asia Pacific region, and the South China Tigers are excited to be part of this literally game-changing competition.

    “The Tigers bring together the best talent from the Hong Kong domestic league and across the greater Bay area, lining up alongside our national 15s and 7s players. Hong Kong is the reigning Asian Games 7s Gold Medallists and Asia Rugby Champions at 15s. We look forward to taking on the rest of the best from the Asia Pacific region.

    “Our Tigers are ready to roar!”

    Coach: Craig Hammond

    Craig Hammond is originally from Wellington, New Zealand where he represented his country at Under-19 level. He spent a lot of his playing career in the United Kingdom, earning more than 300 caps of Nottingham in the English Championship. He moved to Hong Kong in 2012 and has been involved in coaching with the Hong Kong national team since then, initially starting as a player/coach.

    What can we expect to see from the Tigers according to coach Craig Hammond

    “We will be aiming to play a fast, physical, smart and enjoyable brand of rugby!” “It is great having 6 teams involved this season which will make Global Rapid Rugby very competitive. The laws make you really think more about the tactics on both sides of the ball (attacking and defending). The new kicking laws will make the game even more tactical. Rapid Rugby is a very fast and exciting game to play, coach and watch so I can’t wait to get into it come round one!”

    “We are expecting a tough physical encounter against the Manuma Samoa team in our season opener. We had a taste of Rapid Rugby last year so we’re trying to prepare our players for that first 70 minutes of fast rugby! Our first game is very important to make sure we get off to a good start in this competition”.

    Players to watch

    Glyn Hughes – flyhalf Glyn is a talented number 10 who relocated to Hong Kong in 2017 after a successful career in the English championship with London Welsh, Northampton Saints, Wasps, and Moseley.

    Ruan Du Plooy – scrumhalf Ruan is a big scrumhalf with great skills. He was born in South Africa and schooled at Gisbourne Boys High School in New Zealand and has a strong rugby pedigree.

    Sam Tsoi – loose forward Sam is a former Hong Kong Under-20 Captain, who has made great strides in the game since switching from shot put and discus! He is a strong ball carrier, with a good turn of speed.

    Tom Bristow – front row Tom is a mobile loosehead prop who made his test debut for Hong Kong against Belgium in 2019. He has previously played in the English Championship for Wasps, Northampton Saints, and Sale.

    Ben Axten-Burrett – centre Ben is a talented centre who has represented Hong Kong at test level and previously played for Harlequins Academy and Plymouth Albion in the UK.

    Draw

    March 14 vs Manuma Samoa in Perth
    March 21 vs Fijian Latui in Fiji
    March 28 vs China Lions in Taupo, NZ
    April 11 vs Western Force in Perth
    April 19 vs Malaysia Valke in Kuala Lumpur
    April 26 vs Fijian Latui in Hong Kong
    May 1 vs Manuma Samoa in Hong Kong
    May 9 vs China Lions in Hong Kong
    May 17 vs Western Force in Hong Kong
    May 23 vs Malaysia Valke in Hong Kong
    https://www.rapid.rugby/south-china-tigers/

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    MALAYSIA VALKE
    January 31, 2020
    The Malaysia Valke are based in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur and feature top local talent from Malaysia and South Africa. The Valke kick off their campaign against the Western Force in Perth on March 14, a clash that their coach Rudy Joubert describes as “a very tough opener”.

    Home Venues

    Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Kuala Lumpur – An 87, 000 capacity all-seating multi-purpose arena located in the National Sports Complex to the south of the capital, Kuala Lumpur. It is the largest stadium in Southeast Asia and the eighth largest football stadium in the world.

    Stadium TUDM – A smaller venue located at the Royal Malaysian Air Force facilities, 25 km outside Kuala Lumpur.

    Playing Jersey

    Home: Red jersey, red shorts and red socks
    Away: White jersey, red shorts and red socks

    What CEO, Jurie Coetzee has to say about Global Rapid Rugby

    “This is undoubtedly the biggest rugby initiative in many years. I feel honoured and privileged to be able to partner with the best of Malaysia and to bring a professional product to this part of Asia,”

    “Not only is rugby in the centre stage of world sports, but it also creates a true sense of aspiration and performance in all who are part of it. The sport involves communities and business, spectators, officials and players who all deserve to experience a quality product in entertainment and performance.

    “I certainly look forward to building vibrant, exciting and open friendships all-round. Carpe Diem.”

    Coach: Rudy Joubert

    Rudy Joubert, who is the current Director to Rugby at the Valke, has a long and impressive record of achievements in a coaching career spanning more than 25 years. He has coached at international level in South Africa and Namibia and as Technical Advisor to the Springboks when they won the Rugby World Cup in 1995.

    His further experience includes: Head Coach of Namibia at Rugby World Cup 1999 South African Under-23 coach in 2000 Springbok Assistant Coach at Rugby World Cup 2003 South Africa A Head Coach in 2003-2004 Bulls Super Rugby coach in 2003-2004 Valke Currie Cup coach in 2007-2008 and in 2014-2018 Rudy says Global Rapid Rugby is a great initiative that is destined to change the game.

    “The Asia Pacific region is going to go from strength to strength as a result of this tournament. Malaysia, specifically, is going to benefit enormously from Rapid Rugby. I am privileged to be part of this historic initiative,” he said.

    What can we expect to see from the Valke, according to coach Rudy Joubert

    “The Valke will look to play an innovative running game without compromising set pieces and defence,”

    “The format of the tournament will give each team a fair chance to reach the final. The laws will make for some entertaining high-pace rugby.”

    Players to watch

    Primo Ncube – front row (tighthead) Primo is a big and tough front row who is a very effective scrummager. For a big guy, he has a good turn of pace over 10m.

    Cody Basson – loose forward Cody is a powerful and uncompromising number eight who leads by example. He was named Player of the Year in the Currie Cup First Division tournament in 2019. The Currie Cup is the premier provincial tournament in South Africa.

    Zee Mkhabela – scrumhalf Zee is a young number 9 who already has a wealth of senior experience having played for the Sharks in Super Rugby and the Cheetahs in the Pro 14. He also represented South Africa at under-20 level. He’s known for being very quick with a very accurate pass, which is suited to the Rapid Rugby format.

    Valentino Wellman – centre Valentino is a typical South African number 13, big and well-built with speed and fantastic skills.

    Ezrich Alexander – wing Ezrich is a young and talented left wing with a lot of paces. He is a very balanced runner, giving him a great side-step and quick feet.

    Draw

    March 14 vs Western Force in Perth
    March 21 vs China Lions in Selangor
    March 28 vs Manuma Samoa in Selangor
    April 11 vs Fijian Latui in Kuala Lumpur
    April 19 vs South China Tigers in Kuala Lumpur
    April 26 vs China Lions in Adelaide
    May 1 vs Western Force in Kuala Lumpur
    May 8 vs Manuma Samoa in Apia
    May 16 vs Fijian Latui in Suva
    May 23 vs South China Tigers in Hong Kong

    Did you know?

    Valke translated into English is Falcons. The team name is derived from the Dutch and Afrikaans name Valk. The Dutch have a long association with Malaysia, dating back to the 1600’s.
    https://www.rapid.rugby/malaysia-valke/

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    MANUMA SAMOA
    January 31, 2020
    Manuma Samoa is based in Apia at the Samoa Rugby Union headquarters. Its squad predominantly includes players based in Samoa and Samoan-eligible players based in Australia and New Zealand. The team is separate from the team that participated as Kagifa Samoa in the Pacific Showcase in 2019.

    The Samoa Rugby Union has taken up the reigns for this new Manuma Samoa team for its participation in the inaugural Global Rapid Rugby tournament in 2020. They open their campaign against the South China Tigers in Perth on March 14.

    Home Ground

    Apia Park Stadium – A multi-function sports complex in the Samoan capital that has a capacity of 12,000 and is used primarily for rugby union events. The complex also has adjacent tennis courts.

    Playing Jersey

    Royal blue shirts, shorts and socks with white and sky blue trim.

    What CEO, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepuleai has to say about Global Rapid Rugby

    “This is one of the most exciting developments in international rugby in recent years and will contribute to the growth of the game in Asia and the Pacific region.

    “We are very excited by the prospects that Global Rapid Rugby holds for both our organisation and our players, who have much to gain through the exposure that this new tournament will provide.

    “We feel privileged to be a part of the event and look forward to it going from strength to strength in years to come”.

    Coach: Muliagatele Brian Lima

    Brian Lima was the head coach of the Samoa A team for the past three years – 2017 to 2019. He is a household name in the world of rugby, famously known as “The Chiropractor” for his bone-crunching hits on the field. He held the record as the youngest player to be part of a Rugby World Cup team – at 19 years of age being part of the legendary Manu Samoa team that defeated Wales in the 1991 Rugby World Cup. In 2011, Brian Lima was inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame.

    What can we expect to see from Manuma Samoa according to coach Brian Lima

    “I like to see the ball moved around to create space that we can punch through, but I’m just as likely to keep it all moving with our pack.

    “The laws of the Global Rapid Rugby tournament encourage running rugby so that is exactly what we will try to do.”

    “We have been working hard on fitness, as we know the game will be faster-paced than normal, as well as our distribution skills and defence. If we can minimise handling errors and lapses in discipline then we should be able to get our momentum going and be formidable. Our squad is a mixture of local Samoan rugby players who ply their trade in the Samoan domestic rugby competition, the “Super Lakapi (Rugby in Samoan)” as well as Samoan players in NZ and Australia, most of whom have been through our domestic competition or our Samoa A squad in the past few years, so we are excited to test their limits at a higher level.”

    Players to watch

    Tila Mealoi – inside centre/fullback A regular in the Manu Samoa 7’s, Tila Mealoi has decided to try his hand at fifteens. With deceptive speed and great playmaking skills, he will bring flair to Manuma Samoa’s attack.

    Patrick Fa’apale – flyhalf Patrick is a dependable flyhalf with a solid attacking game and is known to control the game well with his kicking abilities. He made his debut for Samoa in 2014 and was part of the squad at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

    Malu Falaniko – wing Malu is a quick and fleet-footed wing with great potential. He has represented Samoa at Under-20 level, played two Tests for Samoa in 2016, and has also played for the Manu Samoa 7’s.

    Callum Adams – lock Based in New Zealand, Callum plays for Counties Manukau . A solid ball-carrier, he played for Samoa A in the Americas Pacific Challenge in 2017.

    Afa Aiono – hooker Afa is a wily and experienced hooker who will bring stability to the Samoa scrum. He earned eight Test caps for Samoa between 2009 and 2012 and was part of the Manu Samoa campaign in 2019.

    Draw

    March 14 vs South China Tigers in Perth
    March 21 vs Western Force in Apia
    March 28 vs Malaysia Valke in Kuala Lumpur
    April 11 vs China Lions in Apia
    April 19 vs Fijian Latui in Suva
    April 24 vs Western Force in Perth
    May 1 vs South China Tigers in Hong Kong
    May 8 vs Malaysia Valke in Apia
    May 17 vs China Lions in Rotorua
    May 23 vs Fijian Latui in Apia

    Did you know?

    Manuma in Samoan refers to a colourful fruit dove that is found in Samoa.
    https://www.rapid.rugby/manuma-samoa/

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    FIJIAN LATUI
    January 31, 2020
    The Fijian Latui is based in Suva with a squad drawn mainly from players based locally in Fiji. The Latui participated in four Pacific Showcase matches in 2019, which were a precursor to them joining Global Rapid Rugby in 2020. They open their campaign against the China Lions in Suva on March 14.

    Home Ground

    ANZ Stadium, Suva – Has a capacity of 15,000 with undercover seating for 4,000 spectators and concrete and grass embankments for approximately 11,000. The venue is primarily used for rugby and soccer matches and also has a track.

    Playing Jersey
    Sky blue jerseys with black and white trim, black shorts and sky blue socks.

    What CEO, John O’Connor has to say about Global Rapid Rugby

    “With Global Rapid Rugby we are entering an exciting new phase for Fijian rugby as it provides further opportunities for us to grow the game and develop talent.

    “Exposure to high-quality opposition is a huge benefit for our younger players who will be gaining invaluable exposure to elite competition. After last year’s Pacific Showcase excitement is high at the prospect of enjoying a fully-fledged home and away tournament. Global Rapid Rugby will bring fast-paced, action-packed rugby that suits our style and which our fans are sure to love.”

    Coach: Senirusi Seravakula

    Senirusi Seravakula was appointed coach of the Fijian Latui in 2019. He is also Head Coach of the Fiji Warriors junior development team and has also served as Assistant coach to the Fijian senior team. Between 2017 and 2019, Seravakula coached the Fijian Drua in the Australian National Rugby Championship (NRC). The team placed third in 2017, won the title in 2018 and reached the semi-finals in 2019. As a player, Seravakula was a flanker who played one test for Fiji against Samoa in 2002.

    What can we expect to see from the Fijian Latui, according to coach Senirusi Seravakula

    “The team has gone through a dynamic learning process in the pre-tournament camp, with a focus on core elements of their play and structure. “We have dug into the clarity of rugby so the boys could familiarise themselves with our system of play, and I have been witnessing a lot of improvements.

    “Knowing how rapid and swift the plays will be in the tournament, we have been working on their stamina and keeping their composure while under pressure. We are also polishing up our skills and working on our communication. We need to be effective in these areas as it plays a big role in our game. If we get these areas right then there’s definitely a good chance of getting things our way.”

    “We have some fresh faces in the squad and learning from each outing will be important. For some of them here, it is the first time they will play at this level. So, we are working on getting them composed at this level so they can show the best they can do. They have raw talents and we just need to get that out of them, for them to play their best.”

    Players to watch

    Caleb Muntz – flyhalf Caleb is a young flyhalf who has the potential to become a full international in years to come. In 2019, he made a great impact at Under-20 level and for the Fiji Warriors in the Pacific Challenge.

    Joeli Veitayaki – prop Joeli is a veteran loosehead prop who will be relied upon to give stability to the Fijian pack. He is a powerful and experienced scrummager.

    Eremasi Radrodro – loose forward Eremasi is a seasoned backrower with international experience. He made his Test debut against Tonga in 2016 and was in the Fijian team that faced the Barbarians in London last November.

    Serupepeli Valurika – scrumhalf Serupepeli is an exciting young scrumhalf with heaps of potential who has made an impact for the Fijian Drua in the Australian NRC over the past few seasons.

    Tevita Ikanivere – hooker Tevita is a talented young hooker who has represented the Fijian Drua in the Australian NRC. He is strong and mobile with a physical edge to his game.

    Draw

    March 14 vs China Lions in Suva
    March 21 vs South China Tigers in Suva
    March 28 vs Western Force in Suva
    April 11 vs Malaysia Valke in Kuala Lumpur
    April 19 vs Manuma Samoa in Suva
    April 24 vs South China Tigers in Hong Kong
    May 3 vs China Lions in Rotarua
    May 9 vs Western Force in Perth
    May 16 vs Malaysia Valke in Suva
    May 23 vs Manuma Samoa in Apia

    Did you know?

    Latui in Fijian refers to the Fiji goshawk, a small hawk that is indigenous to the island. The Latui uses either a stealthy glide or a rapid flapping attack to hunt its prey.
    https://www.rapid.rugby/fijian-latui/

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    CHINA LIONS
    January 31, 2020
    The China Lions is a joint venture between the China Rugby Football Association and the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union in New Zealand. They will be making their Rapid Rugby debut against a talented Fijian Latui team.

    Home Ground

    Rotorua International Stadium A 20,000 seater multi-purpose stadium located in the Westbrook suburb of Rotorua, New Zealand. The stadium is predominantly used for rugby union and rugby league matches and has played host to the British & Irish Lions vs NZ Maoris, Rugby World Cup 2011 Pool Matches, and Mitre10 Cup matches.

    Playing Jersey

    Home: Red jersey, shorts and socks with black trim
    Away: Black jersey, shorts and socks with red trim

    What CEO, Mike Rogers has to say about Global Rapid Rugby

    “We are really excited about the inaugural season of Global Rapid Rugby. We have assembled a strong team and expect the side to be competitive and play a dynamic brand of rugby.

    “Our partnership with China Rugby Football Association is a long-term commitment to fostering rugby in China and we look forward to building a strong fan base in China over the coming seasons.”

    Coach: Mike Rogers (who shares the same name with the Lions CEO)

    Mike Rogers is Assistant Coach of the Bay of Plenty senior team, which won the 2019 Mitre 10 Championship in New Zealand. Prior to that, Rogers was head coach of the Bay of Plenty Under-19 team, which won the New Zealand national championship in 2018.

    What can we expect to see from the Lions according to coach Mike Rogers

    “We are really excited about Global Rapid Rugby – it is a great opportunity for our players to showcase their ability on an international stage,”

    “The innovative laws have been great for our coaching group in terms of challenging the way we approach the game and the opportunities that exist with the law changes. Kick strategy will form a large part of our experimentation over the first three games of the tournament.

    “In our first game against Fijian Latui we will be up against a quality side in very challenging conditions. We know that the Fijians will be a serious contender for the inaugural title and we are under no illusions about the challenge ahead. What better way to find out where we are at with an away game against a quality side first up. We are up for the challenge!”

    Players to watch

    Pryor Collier – fullback An electric fullback with speed and evasion. Pryor has bulked up in the off-season and has added a physical presence to his game. He is an established Mitre 10 Cup player with Bay of Plenty and former Auckland Mitre 10 Cup.

    Dwayne Sweeney – centre The most experienced player in the China Lions, Dwayne has 100 caps for Waikato in the Mitre 10 Cup, 68 appearances for the Chiefs in Super Rugby and is a former Maori All Black. Dwayne brings experienced and leadership to an exciting China Lions backline.

    Fa’asiu Fuatai – wing A former All Blacks Sevens player, Fa’asiu is renowned for his speed, anticipation and line-breaking ability. He is an experienced Mitre 10 Cup player with Bay of Plenty. Stan Van den Hoven – lock Known as ‘The Dutch enforcer’ Stan, at 2.02m and 115kg, brings a real physical edge to his game as a lock. He made his debut for Bay of Plenty at Mitre 10 Cup level in 2019.

    Abraham Papali’i– number eight The former Warriors and Roosters NRL player, Abraham brings power for the Lions off the back of the scrum.

    Draw

    March 14 vs Fijian Latui in Suva
    March 21 vs Malaysia Valke in Kuala Lumpur
    March 28 vs South China Tigers in Taupo, NZ
    April 11 vs Manuma Samoa in Apia
    April 19 vs Western Force in Adelaide
    April 26 vs Malaysia Valke in Adelaide
    May 3 vs Fijian Latui in Rotarua
    May 9 vs South China Tigers in Hong Kong
    May 17 vs Manuma Samoa in Rotarua, NZ
    May 23 vs Western Force in Perth
    https://www.rapid.rugby/china-lions/

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    TWF Contributor!
    Thanks Volvo.

    Some really exciting games coming up this season I reckon!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alison View Post
    Thanks Volvo.

    Some really exciting games coming up this season I reckon!
    Great preview and looking forward to it. I still worry that the Force are going to flog some of these teams severely which will hurt the interest in the competition. The other teams will build over time but we need good competitive games from the start.

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