In Brief

Rugby X: can new five-a-side format revolutionise rugby union?

An international tournament is planned to be held in London this October

First there was 15s, then there was sevens and soon rugby union will get a new five-a-side version of the sport.

It’s reported today in The Times that a “radical” plan for indoor five-a-side rugby has been approved by World Rugby, the sport’s global governing body.

Called “Rugby X”, the Times says that the fast-paced format could “revolutionise” the sport’s finances and have a “global appeal in the way that Twenty20 has transformed cricket”. 

Played indoors on artificial grass pitches, a first international tournament is set to be held in London this October and five more events are planned around the world for 2020. Five-a-side teams will play matches that are ten minutes in length.

October’s tournament in London is set to be held at The O2 Arena and could feature men’s and women’s teams from nations such as England, Australia, France, Wales and Fiji. 

The Daily Mail says that while talks are ongoing “it seems clear that World Rugby are open to radically changing the landscape of the sport”.

It’s hoped that Rugby X will “attract a young demographic both in terms of the live event but also coverage on television”.

Rugby X: the rules
  • Played indoors on artificial grass pitches 
  • Five players per team 
  • Ten-minute matches 
  • No half-time 
  • Uncontested three-man scrums 
  • No change of ends 
  • Restart from goal-line with tap-and-go

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