As the coronavirus pandemic continues to starve rugby fans around the world of real life action, RugbyPass has decided to bring the action to the fans – albeit from the comfort of the lounges of the world’s best rugby players.
Welcome to the second edition of the RugbyPass FIFA Pros, a charity tournament featuring some of rugby’s top names duking it out against one another over PlayStation in a quest to find out who the best FIFA player is on each side of the globe.
It’s only been a matter of days since England star Mako Vunipola was crowned the champion of the inaugural FIFA Pros tournament, where he fought off leading players from around Europe to claim top honours in the northern hemisphere competition.
The Saracens and British and Irish Lions prop has since donated his US$2000 prize to Captain Tom Moore’s NHS fundraiser, and now it’s time to see who will join Vunipola in the winners’ circle from the south of the equator.
16 players from New Zealand, Australia and Japan have thrown their hats into the ring as they eye up FIFA supremacy down south, and it all kicks off on Tuesday with the opening two matches of the knockout bracket.
Former All Blacks fullback turned Sky Sport presenter Israel Dagg will open the tournament against Hurricanes speedster Wes Goosen, while Crusaders starlet Will Jordan will take on experienced Honda Heat lock Josh Bekhuis that same day.
Two more matches of the tournament’s opening round will be released each day over the coming week, with Wednesday’s schedule seeing All Blacks prop Angus Ta’avao pitted against Wallabies veteran Kurtley Beale, while Chiefs flyer Shaun Stevenson will play Hurricanes pivot Jackson Garden-Bachop.
Elsewhere, All Blacks star Aaron Smith will do battle against Blues and USA Eagles flanker Tony Lamborn on Thursday, the same day that Chiefs midfielder Alex Nankivell clashes with ex-All Blacks and current Ricoh Black Rams loose forward Elliot Dixon.
The opening round of the tournament concludes on Friday, when Crusaders halfback Bryn Hall challenges former teammate and Wallabies loose forward Pete Samu, and All Blacks bruiser Ngani Laumape faces off against one-test Highlanders playmaker Josh Ioane.
To re-watch the European tournament or to keep up to date with the southern hemisphere edition, make sure to follow the RugbyPass Instagram (here), Facebook (here) and YouTube (here) accounts for daily videos and highlights of all the action.
RugbyPass FIFA Pros Southern Hemisphere Opening Round Draw
Israel Dagg (Sky Sport) vs Wes Goosen (Hurricanes)
Will Jordan (Crusaders) vs Josh Bekhuis (Honda Heat)
Aaron Smith (Highlanders) vs Tony Lamborn (Blues)
Alex Nankivell (Chiefs) vs Elliot Dixon (Ricoh Black Rams)
Bryn Hall (Crusaders) vs Pete Samu (Brumbies)
Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes) vs Josh Ioane (Highlanders)
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