Tweaks to Tens in second year

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Duco Events Australia CEO Rachael Carroll is confident the Brisbane Tens will have more top-line All Blacks in 2018, after the new edition of the event was launched on Wednesday.

The second rendition of the competition will be a day-night format, taking games out of the hottest part of the day, after fans sweltered through record temperatures in Brisbane this year.

Carroll said they had taken fan feedback on board in establishing the new schedule, which will also be shifted to start on Friday, rather than Saturday.

“We saw how hot it was last year, everyone remembers that, so we're going day-night,” she said.

“We're going Friday night, Saturday night, so you can imagine rocking in after work, 2,3,4 o’clock, on a balmy night in Brisbane.

“It's going to be fantastic.”

New Zealand Rugby prevented its Test stars from playing in the 2017 tournament, including paid ambassador Israel Dagg, due to restrictions on load for touring stars, but Carroll said that would be different this year.

Julian Savea, who was a surprise omission from the Rugby Championship squad, is the high-profiel Kiwi ambassador and Carroll said they had moved to ensure his playing participation, irrespective of whether he makes it back into the international fold.

“We've worked really hard this year straight off the back of the first event, we went into New Zealand rugby and said, 'Right, how are we going to do this? Let's get these big guys on the field and here we've got the second-biggest tryscorer of all time for the All Blacks, Julian Savea, who's guaranteed to play next year, even if he goes on tour, he's guaranteed to play next year,” she said.

“We're working really closely with New Zealand Rugby to assess each on a case-by-case basis and get some more All blacks on the field, but it's also about the new stars.

“If you  look at this year - (All Blacks and Hurricanes back) Jordie Barrett, breakthrough star, platform and look what he's gone on to do.

“This is about, yes, the stars of today, but also the stars of tomorrow.”

Fiji captain Akapusi Qera says they are looking for a big fish. Photo: Getty ImagesNext year, the competition will also see some new international teams, with a Fiji national team joining Samoa, as well as top 14 team Pau.

“We know that when Fiji plays anywhere in Australia in both New South Wales and Queensland , you get a huge following of fans in the stands and we're absolutely expecting that the Fijians are going to come out in Force and support the Brisbane Global tens next year,” Carroll said.

Aussie fans could see David Pocock on home soil for the first time in the competition as well, with the flanker’s Panasonic Wild Knights in action for the second year.

Closer to home, there will be a WA representative side regardless of the outcome of the long-running Super Rugby saga, with Carroll floating the idea of a WA Barbarians team should the Force no longer exist.

The 2018 Brisbane Global Rugby Tens kicks off on Friday February 9, running over two days.