The team Asia Pacific Dragons is a franchise that was born to give an opportunity to the players of the islands surrounding New Zealand. Rumors this year pointed to him as one of the sets to cheer on Super Rugby organized by the Kiwi Union but those in charge of carrying out the club project were clear and believe that It is not yet time to bet on the big contest.
As New Zealand Rugby nears a decision on the 2021 competition, the Dragons insist they only want to be considered starting in 2022 and that for now they will focus on the World Tens (10-player team tournament) to take advantage of the United States market and be able to take advantage of the current problems of the sevens format.
“We believe that for any team to be successful in 2021, it must already be in dialogue with players abroad who can support the young people who come to the team in competitions such as the Miter 10 Cup and also in the Pacific Islands,” he said Sam lawrence, Dragons general manager and added that Super Rugby Aotearoa “is the best competition in the world in terms of quality and in order to compete you need a team with hierarchy and experienced players.
“Our participation in the World Tens Series in 2020 and also in 2021 would provide the ideal opportunity and preparation to participate in Super Rugby 2022,” confided Lawrence. Onboarding potential teams to Super Rugby Aotearoa now appears to be a two-step process with NZ Rugby focusing on the tournament that will take place in 2021. Only in 2022 will it consider incorporating a new franchise.
“NZ Rugby reported that it will review the 2022 competition once the 2021 structure is confirmed,” said Lawrence, adding that “We are likely to run again during November. The process was quite transparent and we continue in dialogue with NZ Rugby and also with Rugby Australia ”.
The Dragons project today focuses on the Tens tournament that will be held in Bermuda from October 24 to November 7. This modality, which is played in two periods of ten minutes, will have eight international franchises in this first World Series. It is expected that from 2021 there will be 16 teams participating in the League. The Dragons’ coach in that competition will be former Wallabies and Tonga coach Toutai Kefu.
Lawrence sees the Bermuda event as a precursor to an expanded series in 2021 and an option for the Dragons when it comes to hire players for Super Rugby. “The most important thing for us is that it strengthens our offer when we go to look for the players that are abroad,” said Lawrence, saying that “they can come and play Super Rugby and then they don’t have to leave again during the second half of the season. They would stay with the APD brand [Dragons] and they would not have to take their family and settle in another country ”.