Bermuda will host the first World Tens Series in October and November, taking mainstream what is an exciting hybrid of 7’s and 15’s Rugby writes Alex Goff from www.goffrugbyreport.com.
Ten-a-side rugby is not new. It has been played here and there for decades. Hong Kong boasts an impressive 10’s Tournament as part of the Hong Kong 7’s weekend. But now there’s a plan to create a global series.
Of course, COVID-19 makes it very difficult to have a global anything, so the first run-out will be three events, all in quick succession at the same location.
The inaugural series will be held in Bermuda, with the first weekend of action being October 24th-25th, Round 2 being October 31st to November 1st, and the Championship being November 7th.
And there’s an American team involved, as the Ohio Aviators will suit up to represent the USA. In the lone year of PRO Rugby (2016). The Aviators name was never trademarked and now has been as a professional touring side.
Program director Tom Rooney looked to get as many players from the old PRO Rugby team back for the assembly in Bermuda, and he did pretty well.
Hooker Dylan Fawsitt, lock Kyle Baillie, and loose forward/lock Riekert Hattingh have all verbally committed to play. Flyhalf JP Eloff is back, as is wing Shawn Riley, while another former Aviator flyhalf, Taylor Howden, will coach along with NOLA player Kane Thompson. Zach Stryffeler, who was on the 2016 Aviators team, will be the manager.
Roland Suniula was not available as he is in New Zealand and can’t travel, but his younger brother, Shalom, will fill in. Recent Ohio State standout prop Spencer Kreuger and recent Lindenwood University All American Christian Rodriguez are also on the squad.
There may well be a few other high-profile signings.
“We have a combination of young-and-hungry along with experienced guys,” said Rooney. “You look at Fawsitt, Baillie, and Rikhert, they’re all captains of their MLR teams.”
Major League Rugby told the Aviators they needed to get permission from each MLR team for players to be released, but if the team said OK, then the league would say OK. The Seattle Seawolves, RUNY, and NOLA were all very supportive of the plan.
The Aviators will be together for close to 30 days, in intense training before the first games. The team will take a squad of 20, with game rosters being 16. They will assemble and train for 10 days before the first games on October 24. They have sponsorship backing (more on that later) and may well be the highest-profile American rugby team playing this fall.