Global Rapid Rugby ready for lift off

Western Force legend Matt Hodgson says it will be a proud moment when Global Rapid Rugby kicks off this Saturday.

The Western Force were on life support in 2017, but club legend Matt Hodgson reckons the heartbeat of WA rugby now beats strongly ahead of the unveiling of Global Rapid Rugby.

Andrew Forrest's new rugby competition will kick off on Saturday when the Force take on the Malaysia Valke at HBF Park.

The competition has been three years in the making - ever since the Force were cruelly cut from Super Rugby in 2017.

Forrest vowed to keep the Force alive, and he kept to his word.

His first bid was to get the Force reinstated in Super Rugby.

But when that failed, he decided to create a new rugby competition, featuring a host of teams from the Asia-Pacific region.

The Force will battle it out with the China Lions, the Malaysia Valke, Fijian Latui, Manuma Samoa and the Hong Kong-based South China Tigers for $1 million in prize money in the inaugural edition of GRR.

Ten home-and-away rounds will be followed by a one-off grand final.

Hodgson was the heart and soul of the Force when they were axed from Super ranks, and he has been busy over the past three years as GRR's head of rugby.

He said it was a proud moment to see the competition launched.

"A few years ago we were just keeping the heart beat of rugby alive in Perth," Hodgson said.

"So to actually have a full-blown competition a few years later taking on players through Asia and the (Pacific) Islands is quite exciting.

"We've got to create a tournament and a competition that we can showcase on the world stage."

GRR will feature a series of law changes that will encourage faster, more entertaining rugby.

RULE CHANGES

* Power Try - A team will receive nine points for any try-scoring play that began in their defensive 22m. No conversion is necessary after the try.

* No more safety kicks - Teams no longer have the luxury of kicking the ball out on the full within their defensive 22m to relieve pressure. Any kick that goes over the sideline on the full will be turned over to the opposition.

* The 50:22 rule - If a player kicks the ball within their own half and the ball bounces before reaching the touchline inside their opponents' defensive 22m, the attacking team gets the lineout.

* Rolling substitutions - Players can be rotated for management or tactical reasons at any time during the match and then return to the action when needed. There will be a maximum of 12 substitutions for each team.

* Game time - 35-minute halves

* Win by 3 or more tries = 1 bonus point

* Score 4 or more tries in a game = 1 bonus point

* Lose by 5 points or less = 1 bonus point


AAP