Global Rapid Rugby expands for season two

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Mining magnate Andrew Forrest has followed through with a promise to expand Global Rapid Rugby and again put up $1 million prize money for its second season.

The 2020 championship will kick off in March, with teams from Fiji, Samoa, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Australia in contention to clinch the cash prize in June's final in Perth. A sixth team, from Asia, is still to be confirmed.

Perth-based billionaire Forrest established a breakaway competition after Western Force were axed from Super Rugby in 2017.

He established World Series Rugby a year later before launching Global Rapid Rugby in 2018, which comprised six teams but only 14 matches were played.

The upgraded 31-match structure will see home-and-away matches played every weekend bar one from the opening game on March 13. There is one bye round, in early April.

The five confirmed teams are the defending champions Western Force, Fijian Latui, Manuma Samoa, South China Tigers and Malaysia Valke.

The Force and Latui are the only teams returning with the same name.

The competition's bespoke rules and scoring system will once again promote attacking play, with teams rewarded for keeping the ball in hand and kicking less.

Global Rapid Rugby chief executive Mark Evans believes the more substantial draw will attract supporters.

"The evolution from a showcase series to a home-and-away season will multiply the success we enjoyed this year in many ways," Evans said.

"In particular, providing Fiji and Samoa with access to a full-scale, international competition is an enormous result for the sport worldwide."

The $1 million carrot matches the winning prize Forrest dangled last year.