The owner of the World XV invitation side that opens Global Rapid Rugby’s showcase series against Western Force at HBF Park on Friday night is planning a Japan-based team to play in next year’s competition.
Promoter Steve Berrick, who is also match organiser for the world famous Barbarians, said the team would attract players from around the globe.
“We would look to put a team of stars from around the world in the competition and we certainly want to look at having our home games in Japan,” Berrick said.
“We have been in discussions about the new competition and we are very interested in being a part of that.
“It’s very exciting. We can definitely see there is a very strong market in Japan.”
Force play a 10-game series this season against teams from Fiji, Samoa, Hong Kong and Singapore with the new enlarged $1million GRR tournament starting next year.
GRR is bankrolled by mining magnate Andrew Forrest who was angered by the Force’s controversial axing from Super Rugby by Rugby Australia.
“They have spotted an opportunity and have the backing to put it together,” Berrick said.
“The traditional markets are always looking to expand in some form or other but Rapid Rugby is ahead of the game.”
Both the Barbarians and the World XV have played in Japan and Berrick was introduced to GRR by former Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.
Deans, a big supporter of GRR, coaches Panasonic Wild Knights who played the Force in last year’s World Series Rugby. He has coached the World XV against Japan and will be in charge again on Friday.
“I’ve known Robbie for a number of years. He has coached a number of teams we have put together. He introduced us to the Western Force and their action plan going forward,” Berrick said.
“I’ve been involved in exhibition games so to be involved with something that’s going to be competitive over a number of weeks would be very interesting.”
Berrick first organised the World XV 12 years ago after the Barbarians were unavailable to play the Springboks in South Africa.