CROWD-puller Julian Savea has been locked in as All Blacks star-power when the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens reignites under lights next season.
Fan concerns over any repeat of the melting 36C heat of the inaugural tournament have been dealt with by a smart timing switch to mid-afternoon and evening kick-offs.
The discomfort level registered a roasting 51C in direct sun in sections of the Suncorp Stadium seating, according to one source, which means playing at noon has been abandoned.
Organisers Duco Events have been admirably nimble with their response to feedback so the second edition rises to a new level from this season’s positive first impression.
The banner that has just appeared on the event’s Twitter account certainly suggests the festive 14-club party will be bigger, better and more brassy in February.
“Join The Rugby 10s Revolution” is the tag and organisers will be confident of topping this year’s crowd figures.
More than 24,000 fans packed the shaded side of the stadium on opening day when the attendance was at a peak from the 29,000 two-day tickets sold.
Night games, more All Blacks, single day tickets and extra wildcard players were big takeaways in the aftermath of this year’s manic try-fest through 28 games.
All seem to have been ticked and Savea was at Suncorp Stadium last night for a promotional photo ahead of today’s official launch.
The rampaging Hurricanes winger is nicknamed “The Bus” for his not-so-subtle trampling of defenders and has scored his 46 Test tries at a faster rate than the late Jonah Lomu.
Organisers are believed to have secured an undertaking that Savea will be available as a headliner regardless of whether he tours with the All Blacks to Europe in November.
Touring All Blacks were vetoed from appearing in this year’s tournament because it fell within the active rest period designated for them, even event ambassadors Damian McKenzie, Jerome Kaino and Israel Dagg.
Savea has a massive fan following among Kiwi rugby fans, who dominated the crowd at Suncorp Stadium with rowdy pockets of support for each of the five New Zealand sides.
Proof that the Global Tens were an asset as a pre-season format was reflected in the strong run to the final by the Crusaders, who went on to dominate all the way to a Super Rugby triumph.
Duco Events chief executive Rachael Carroll has already indicated a lifeline will be thrown to rugby in Western Australia with an invitation to compete regardless of whether the Western Force exist.
Former Wallaby Nick Cummins would be an ideal wildcard if the Perth-based entry becomes a Western Australian Barbarians team spiced with hand-picked stars.
Any WA side just needs to make sure they include an official who can count after playing part of one game this year with just nine players because of a haphazard rush of substitutions.
Tourism and Events Queensland and Brisbane Marketing have reaffirmed the Global Tens is a signature addition to their calendar of events under a four-year deal.
Originally published as All Black star jumps on Global Tens bus
Source: sports dailytelegraph