The brainchild of billionaire mining magnate and Western Force owner, Andrew Forrest, Global Rapid Rugby is an attempt to make a more entertainment-driven form of rugby.
The competition had been slated to start in full this year, but its inaugural season has been pushed to 2020, with 2019 featuring showcases of the fledgling tournament as a number of the participating sides have taken part in a series of exhibition games.
Western Force are the most established side in the competition, whilst they are joined by Asian Pacific Dragons and South China Tigers, playing out of Singapore and Hong Kong respectively, all of whom have played in the recent Asia Showcase, whilst Samoa have entered Kagifa Samoa for the upcoming Pacific Showcase series.
Joining Kagifa Samoa is Swire Shipping Fijian Latui, with the side set to host two games at Churchill Park in Lautoka, before going on the road for two further games. They will take on Kagifa Samoa and Western Force across the four fixtures that span Fiji, New Zealand and Australia.
Fijian Latui will be coached by Senirusi Seruvakula, with the 49-year-old having enjoyed plenty of success recently with both the Fiji Warriors and Fijian Drua sides, winning both the Pacific Rugby Challenge and the National Rugby Championship.
Plenty of the players Seruvakula coached in those two sides will be joining him with Latui, including internationals Eroni Mawi and Frank Lomani. Further internationals Mesulame Dolokoto, Joeli Veitayaki Jr, Mosese Voka, Serupepeli Vularika and John Stewart have also made the 36-man squad, which can be seen in full here.
Vatiliai Matakaca, Luke Tagi and Fabiano Navabale are among the recent players to represent Fiji at U20 level in the Latui squad, as Seruvakula puts together a mix of ability and potential from the Fijian-based players he has at his disposal.
Latui kick off the Pacific Showcase against Kagifa Samoa in Lautoka on Saturday May 18th, before hosting Western Force a week later.
The five sides taking part in both the Asian and Pacific Showcases should form the five core sides when the tournament begins in full in 2020, where they should be joined by three further teams, with a Japanese side, a New Zealand side and an east coast Australian side the most prominent rumours. Beyond 2020, Forrest and Global Rapid Rugby are looking at territories such as China, India, Korea, UAE and Sri Lanka for further expansion.
Watch: Michael Leitch discusses Japan’s chances at the upcoming Rugby World Cup
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