Competition delay leaves players in limbo

Players from the South left in limbo as a result of the delay to the Global Rapid Rugby competition are believed to be remaining in Singapore, though they may have a shorter stay.

The competition was the brainchild of Western Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest, who had made loud protests when the Western Force was kicked out of Super Rugby in 2017.

The Western Force had played some games last year under new rules and was looking to use these rules in the new competition.

The Asia Pacific Dragons, based in Singapore, were part of the new competition and coached by former Otago Boys' High School first XV coach Ryan Martin, who moved to Singapore after being assistant coach for Otago in last year's Mitre 10 Cup.

Players from the South who have travelled to Singapore with the intention of playing for the Dragons include hooker Sekonaia Pole, lock-loose forward Joketani Koroi, halfback Kurt Hammer and young Dunedin back Zac Harrison-Jones.

Forrest announced last week the full competition would be delayed until 2020 due to an inability to get everything organised in such a short time. Matches had been due to kick off next month.

A statement from the organisers last week outlining the delay said they were planning to have games this year "in Asia, the Pacific Islands and Australasia to give fans, viewers, players and coaches a live taste of what is to come in season one in 2020''.

Some of these games may be played in New Zealand, though the full details will not be confirmed until later this month.

The New Zealand players in Singapore had signed contracts and were intending to stay in Singapore and play in a few games. The season was supposed to last into late June but it may last only four months.

Players were still waiting for the exact details. It is believed a team from Hawai'i and a team from Japan pulled out of the competition, leaving just six teams.

Clubs in Dunedin has raised concerns about the prospect of the Global Rapid Rugby competition and how it was robbing players from the local club competition.

Now, with the shortened competition in Singapore, these players may well come back to play for their clubs towards the end of the club season.

The new rules for the competition include no kicking out on the full from behind the 22m line and a time limit on how long scrums and lineouts would take.

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