It has been a quiet seven months for organized rugby in the United States.

After Major League Rugby made the decision to cancel the remainder of the 2020 season after playing just five matches, there has been almost no organized rugby since the March shutdown with the exception of a few intrasquad scrimmages from Pathway 404 – Rugby ATL’s developmental academy.

Pathway 404 helped NOLA Gold Rugby get back into the swing of things with a scrimmage at Gretna Park in Louisiana on Thursday night. NOLA will continue their weekend of rugby against Life University on Saturday morning before a rematch with Pathway 404 on Saturday afternoon.

While several MLR players will knock the rust off in those two matches on Saturday, several more MLR players will strap on their boots for the first time since March on Sunday 1,598 miles east of Lousiana when the World Tens Series kicks off a three-week competition on Sunday morning in Bermuda.

The Teams

The three-week competition will feature seven teams from all across the globe. The seven confirmed teams include:

  • The Ohio Aviators (Columbus, Ohio)
  • Miami Sun (Miami, Florida)
  • Rhinos (Southern California)
  • SX10 (Cape Town, South Africa)
  • Asia Pacific Dragons
  • London Royals (United Kingdom)
  • Phoenix (Middle East)

If you look closely, you’ll find Major League Rugby players sprinkled into several of these squads. The Ohio Aviators team is almost exclusively composed of Major League Rugby players and will be coached by Taylor Howden of the Houston SaberCats and Kane Thompson of the NOLA Gold. Rhinos will be captained by San Diego Legion star and USA Eagle Mikey Te’o, while you will find former Colorado Raptors’ scrum-half, Nick Boyer, playing his rugby for Miami Sun. And those are just a few of the names that will take the pitch on Sunday morning.

The tournament, which was originally supposed to feature eight teams, announced on Friday afternoon that a member of the SX10 team tested positive for COVID-19. While two separate tests came back negative for the rest of the team, SX10 will forfeit the first weekend of matches while they self-isolate. If all goes well, they will return to action for the next weekend’s matches.

The Rules

Tens rugby is a hybrid of seven-a-side rugby that you see in the Olympics and fifteen-a-side that you see in Major League Rugby, the Rugby World Cup, etc. Tens rugby is played on a standard 100-meter long by 70-meter wide rugby pitch and consists of two 10 minute halves with a two-minute halftime. Matchday rosters are composed of 16 players, with 10 players – five forwards and five backs – on the field for each side. Unlike traditional fifteens and sevens rugby, tens will feature unlimited, rolling substitutions throughout the match.

Tries are still worth five points, but the catch is in the conversions. Teams will be able to cash in on conversions worth anywhere from one to five points depending on the zone the kicker attempts the conversion.

Matches can not end in a draw. If the score is tied at the end of the 20-minute match, the kickers will face off in a matchplay shootout until a winner is decided.

How To Watch

All of the action will get started at 7 AM Mountain Time on Sunday, October 25 and will be broadcast on ESPN+ in the United States

Colton Strickler

Colton Strickler is a Colorado guy through and through. He is a Wheat Ridge Farmer and a Colorado State Ram. He has been involved in the Colorado rugby community in some capacity since 2011. He was Major League Rugby's lead writer in 2018 and 2019 before joining DNVR Rugby.