Forrest's Global Rapid Rugby called off

The inaugural season of Global Rapid Rugby has been forced into an early finish due to the spread of the coronavirus.

ANDREW FORREST.
ANDREW FORREST.  Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Global Rapid Rugby was three years in the making but its inaugural season is set to last just one day.

About 2000 diehard fans turned out to watch the Western Force post a 51-14 win over Malaysia Valke in their GRR debut at HBF Park on Saturday night.

But the spread of the coronavirus has forced GRR to immediately suspend the 2020 season.

It remains unclear whether GRR might try to play out the season later in the year, or simply build towards the 2021 season.

"Travel, quarantine and public health restrictions have provided us with no option but to halt the inaugural Global Rapid Rugby season for the imminent future," GRR chief executive Mark Evans said.

"The sporting environment has been turned upside down by the current worldwide health crisis.

"It's enormously disappointing to have to suspend the competition just one round into the season, however the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff and fans are always our number one priority.

"We will explore all avenues as we seek to evolve the competition to meet the difficult circumstances we all now find ourselves in.

"One thing that has not changed is our commitment to the development of rugby in the Asia-Pacific region and we look forward to getting back on the park and building on what Global Rapid Rugby has achieved so far."

Andrew Forrest's new competition has teams based in Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Samoa, Fiji, and Hong Kong.

With travel restrictions growing tougher by the day, GRR organisers had no choice but to suspend the season.

The cancellation of sport around the world is going to put individual clubs and sporting organisations under huge financial pressure.

Some may not be able to stay afloat.

But GRR has one massive advantage - a billionaire mining magnate in its corner.

Forrest pledged his allegiance to the Force when they were cut from Super Rugby in 2017 and he's stated numerous times that he will back GRR for the long haul.


AAP