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New 12-a-side rugby tournament launched which aims to attract the world’s best

12-a-side rugby

A new 12-a-side rugby tournament is set to kick off in August 2022, and aims to feature some of the world’s best players.

The 12-a-side rugby tournament, which will be known as World 12s, boasts a board which includes former English RFU CEO Ian Ritchie, former New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew and former Welsh Rugby Union chairman Gareth Davies.

World 12s aims to attract 192 of the best players on the planet from both tier one and tier two nations to compete in one of eight franchise teams. Players will be selected by auction to represent one of the teams.

Former All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen and former Springboks head coach Jake White have signed on as ambassadors for the tournament.

‘We are looking to propel rugby forward.’

World 12s chairman Ian Ritchie explained that the founders of the tournament are looking to emulate the success of the Indian Premier League and The Hundred in cricket.

“World 12s is a natural evolution for rugby union. We feel that this is a game for our changing, fast-paced world that can excite a global fan base in the way that we have seen with the IPL or most recently The Hundred in cricket,” Ritchie said.

“In bringing together the most exciting players under the stewardship of some of the brightest rugby minds with commercial backing, we are looking to propel rugby forward and lay a positive roadmap for how the game is perceived for future generations.

“Early and informal discussions with World Rugby, unions, clubs and player associations have been constructive, and in announcing today we can continue our consultative conversations and collaborations with the relevant stakeholders.”

How the World 12s tournament will work.

The first edition of the competition in 2022 is expected to take place in England, but it aims to be hosted in a different location each year. A women’s tournament is planned to launch in 2023.

Each team will consist of 12 starting players – six forwards and six backs – and each half will be only 15 minutes long.

Conversions must be taken as drop-kicks, as in rugby sevens, and only one scrum reset is allowed, followed by a free kick. Teams cannot aim for goal if they win a penalty from a scrum.

Every side will play each other once in a round-robin format, before semi-finals and a final. If a game is drawn at full time, the first team to score in extra time wins.

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