Rugby X: England and Ireland among nations to sign up for event

GB Rugby Sevens team win silver at the Rio Olympics in 2016
Team GB were runners-up to Fiji in the Rugby Sevens final at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016

The inaugural 'Rugby X' tournament will feature a host of Olympic medallists after England, Ireland, USA and France all signed up for the international five-a-side event at London's 02 Arena.

The four countries will all enter men and women's teams on 29 October, with Argentina entering just a men's side.

Tournament organisers are talking to the Barbarians about taking the sixth spot in the men's competition.

There will be four teams in the women's event.

All athletes across the men's and women's competition will be paid the same fee for taking part.

Tom Mitchell, Dan Norton, Ollie Lindsay-Hague and Phil Burgess are among the Team GB Sevens silver medallists from the 2016 Olympics who are set to feature for the England men's side, with Amy Wilson-Hardy and Holly Aitchison among the women players likely to be involved.

It's understood the Barbarians - if confirmed - will include a number of Fiji's Rio 2016 gold medal winners, while some big 15-a-side names could also be included if not still playing at the World Cup.

The event will be split into two sessions, an afternoon slot aimed at families, and an evening one targeting 18-34 year-old event-goers.

It is hoped the inclusion of established Sevens players will help give the fledging concept credibility, as Rugby X tries to revolutionise the sport at both elite and grassroots levels.

How will it work?

  • a five-a-side game played on a smaller pitch without posts
  • an emphasis on skill over power
  • launch event to take place during the latter stages of the Rugby World Cup
  • teams will be comprised of mainly international Sevens players
  • to be shown on terrestrial television at peak hours
  • some international stars whose teams have been knocked out of the World Cup may be involved

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