All Black Ben Smith says he is excited about next year's inaugural Brisbane Global Tens tournament which will take place over two days in February and feature 300 of the best rugby players in the world.
New Zealand will be represented through its five Super Rugby teams, with five other countries attending, including Samoa, who will send its national team. Australia's five Super Rugby teams will also attend.
Founded by major events company Duco Events - the creator of the NRL Auckland Nines tournament - in partnership with Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) and Brisbane City Council, the tournament will kick off at Suncorp Stadium on February 11 and will be a fixture on the rugby calendar for the next four seasons.
"It's a great way to hit the 2017 season running, in a great festival-type format that we know our team is absolutely going to love. We have lots of fans in Queensland and we can't wait to get there and play in front of them and our travelling kiwi supporters with this awesome event," Smith said.
The tournament was also endorsed by Blues coach Tana Umaga, who said: "The tens will be a great addition to the rugby calendar. Tens is fast paced, with extra space, but plenty of room for big forwards as well, so in that way it sets it apart from 15s and sevens.
"There's a lot of excitement in the team about this fresh new event. We expect it will be competitive and exciting to watch."
Former Wallabies and Crusaders coach Robbie Deans, who will attend the tournament with his Japanese Panasonic Wild Knights team, said: "You could argue that this will be the biggest gathering of world class rugby players in one city in the history of the game. To gather all these teams together in one place is a remarkable achievement. I'm really looking forward to seeing how our boys stack up against the likes of Toulon. The timing is great as a lead-in to the 2017 season proper. Suncorp is the perfect venue for an event like this. Caxton Street will be buzzing. Tens involves a greater variety of players than sevens but will be faster than 15-a-side. The set pieces will be genuine contests and with only 10 players on the field there is a lot more space to attack."
Duco Events director David Higgins said: "The Brisbane Global Tens is the pre-eminent rugby tens tournament on the planet on every measure. The quality of clubs, players and venue, the participation and prize money, broadcast reach and audience size is unprecedented, making it a truly unique event that will become an iconic fixture in the international sporting calendar."
BRISBANE GLOBAL TENS - AT A GLANCE
• Ten Australian and New Zealand professional clubs and four elite invitational teams will compete (in 2017 the event will feature Toulon, the Bulls, Samoa and the Panasonic Wild Knights)
• Ten-players-per-side, ten-minutes-per-half, knockout tournament
• Culmination of a week-long festival of rugby
• 16 hours of compelling live rugby, featuring 28 matches played over two days
• Broadcast live across Australia, New Zealand, UK, Japan, Africa, France and other major international markets
• Held annually on the second weekend of February, two weeks prior to the start of the Super Rugby season, at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
• Launches the rugby season in Australia and New Zealand
• Sanctioned by the Australian Rugby Union and New Zealand Rugby
BRISBANE GLOBAL TENS RULES
• The rules of the Brisbane Global Tens are based on World Rugby's official rugby tens rules
• Essentially a hybrid of the traditional 15-a-side game and rugby sevens, the objective is to promote free-flowing and fast paced rugby, while still retaining the physical intensity and enthralling forward and backline play that rugby fans love
• Ten players per team on field, with unlimited interchanges
• Ten minute halves, five minute half-time
• Knockout matches drawn after regulation are continued into extra time, in
multiple five-minute periods
• All conversion attempts must be drop-kicked
• Conversions must be taken within 40 seconds of scoring a try
• Five player scrums
• Scoring team kicks off kicks off
• Yellow cards net a three-minute suspension
• Referees rule on advantage quickly (where one play usually ends advantage)
• Monday 8 August, 2016 - Ticket pre-sale opens for Super Club members at
• Thursday 11 August 2016 - General Public tickets on sale 9:00am (AEST)
• Monday 5 February, 2017 - Tournament week in Brisbane kicks off
• Saturday 11 February, 2017 - Day One - Brisbane Global Tens
• Sunday 12 February, 2017 - Day Two - Brisbane Global Tens