Rugby: Singapore-based Asia Pacific Dragons to make Global Rapid Rugby debut against Western Force

The Asia Pacific Dragons' squad features internationals from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. PHOTO: COLIN ONG/ASIA PACIFIC DRAGONS

SINGAPORE - The Asia Pacific Dragons, a professional rugby team based in Singapore, will make their debuts in the Global Rapid Rugby Showcase by taking on Australian side Western Force in Perth on Friday (April 12).

The Dragons' squad features internationals from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa while head coach Ryan Martin has included Singapore international Declan Martens in his 23-member roster for the clash at the HBF Stadium.

Martens, a 26-year-old lock, said: "To be selected to play alongside some of the biggest names and seasoned professionals is a dream and I am extremely honoured to represent the Singapore Rugby Union and my club, SCC (Singapore Cricket Club) tomorrow night."

The Dragons then face South China Tigers in Hong Kong on April 21 before returning to Singapore for home games at Queenstown Stadium against the Tigers (April 28) and Western Force (May 5).

The Global Rapid Rugby is the brainchild of Perth billionaire Andrew Forrest, an avid supporter of Western Force. The franchise, along with two weaker South African teams, were culled from Super Rugby after the 2017 season to streamline and balance the league.

The tournament features sides from Fiji, Samoa, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore and is aiming to expand into markets like New Zealand and Japan next year. There is a A$1 million (S$970,000) purse for finishing first.

The rules are slightly different from the traditional version of rugby.

Instead of the usual 80 minutes, matches are reduced to 70 minutes. There is also a "power try" - for when a team scores from a move that starts inside its own 22m line - that is wroth nine points.

Under conventional rules, a try is five points with a chance for a two-point conversion, for a total of seven points.

Penalty goals in Global Rapid Rugby will count for two points instead of three.

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