Eight privately owned franchise teams will take part in next month’s World Tens Series, a new version of ten-a-side rugby that has plans to expand to 16 teams across twelve locations in 2021 following completion of the inaugural three-week series in Bermuda on November 7. 

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Five of the eight teams have already been confirmed, include Ohio Aviators (Columbus), Asia Pacific Dragons (Singapore), SX10 (Cape Town) London Royals and Miami Sun, with the latter three brands created purely for this concept. 

Tonga head coach Toutai Kefu was recently unveiled as boss of Asia Pacific Dragons, with South African 7s legend Frankie Horne in charge of the SX10 franchise. On the pitch, players who will be involved include 7s stars Osea Kolinisau, Collins Injera, Cecil Afrika, Tom Mitchell and Willy Ambaka and XV players Nafi Tuitavake and Bryce Campbell who have both recently appeared in England’s Gallagher Premiership. 

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Watch Tonga boss Toutai Kefu in action in the behind the scenes documentary made by RugbyPass prior to Japan 2019

These stars of the game will mix it up with young, hungry individuals, with 10 contracts being granted to players at the IMG academy through the rugby combines. 

World Tens Series management have reportedly worked closely with the Bermuda Government to follow the stringent protocols regarding Covid-19, with teams staying in their own resort where they will be in their own bubble throughout their time on the island.  

Bermuda World Tens Series COO Paul Holmes said: “We are hugely excited about launching the World Tens Series in Bermuda next month as a culmination of a lot of hard work finally gets realised. Lots has gone on behind the scenes to get us to this point and I would like to thank the five franchises we have announced for their total commitment to this series.

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“I would also like to recognise the support of the Bermuda Government in allowing us to bring this historic event to the island, during these difficult times we face owing to Covid-19. There is an opportunity with the Tens Series to grow our game and bring new audiences to rugby. The rules have been designed with the audience at the forefront of our thinking, so matches can be exciting and competitive in equal measure. 

“The Tens format can become for rugby what T20 has done for cricket where Test Match players can star in a shortened version of the game. Becoming the IPL of rugby is the ultimate goal and we look forward to October 24 and starting the World Tens Series journey.”

* Players who will feature include Tom Mitchell, Alex Davis, Tom Bowen, Cecil Afrika, Craig Hunt, Collins Injera, Willy Ambaka, Oscar Ouma, Andrew Amonde, Jacques Du Toit, JT Jackson, Christian Ambadiang, Tienje Burger, Harry McNulty, JP Du Plessis, Bryce Campbell, Dylan Fawsitt, Chris Baumann, JP Eloff, Shalom Suniula, Reikert Hattingh, Ben Cima, Peter Tiberio, Will Magie, Kyle Baillie, Eric Howard, Osea Kolinisau, Tomasi Alasio, Nafi Tuitavake, Chris Eves, Api Naikatini, Kurt Morath.

* Tournament rules are:

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The eight teams will be drawn into two groups of four with a round-robin format on day one and a quarter-final, semi-final and the final taking place on day two. The series final will be played on 7 November which will allow for more drama and excitement to unfold;

Each team is made up of a squad of 20 players with match squads of 16. Matches are 10 minutes each half with two minutes for half time and unlimited rolling substitutes throughout the match;

Conversion jeopardy with the conversion after the try ensures that the conversion is now worth between one and five points depending on which zone the kicker selects to kick from;

No match will be a draw with the excitement of a match play shoot-out if the game is all tied up after 20 minutes.

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