Rugby X: Five-a-side tournament plans given go-ahead by World Rugby

Plans for a five-a-side version of rugby have been given the green light by the game’s governing body.

It is not yet clear if Scotland will participate in the Rugby X event,likely to be hosted in London. Picture: SNS Group

World Rugby has signalled its approval for the new shortened version of the game - named “Rugby X” - in the hopes that it can boost finances and widen the game’s international appeal in a similar fashion to Twenty20 cricket.

An international tournament has been pencilled in for later this year, likely to be held in London, according to a report in The Times.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Five further tournaments to take place around the world have been tentatively planned for next year, and ITV is understood to be in talks to acquire broadcasting rights for the initial event, which could take place at London’s O2 Arena.

The world’s leading rugby sevens nations - such as Australia, England, Fiji, France and Wales - are all expected to participate, but there has been no suggestion on which other countries could be invited.

Rugby X, which has been partially developed by former England Sevens coach Ben Ryan, focuses on speedy gameplay in matches lasting just ten minutes that are played indoors on artificial turf.

The rules dictate that three-man scrums are uncontested, line-outs replaced by throws taken by a substitute from the side in possession and no half-time interval or changing of ends.

Action resumes from the defending team’s end after a try is scored.