You may have missed it amidst the chaos of the Six Nations second round, but on social media, the Indian Rugby Football Union announced on it’s social channels that they would be launching a new, franchise-based sevens competition in September.

Talking about the new launch, they said via Facebook: “Indian Rugby Football Union (IRFU) in its stated goals of spreading the development of the sport across the country, announced that they will be launching a first of its kind, franchise-based league for rugby to be called the Rugby Premier League (RPL).

“The league will feature some of the best sevens rugby talent internationally as well as from India. It was also announced that IRFU has partnered with one of India’s leading sport marketing company Baseline Ventures India Pvt Ltd for organising and marketing the league. The league to be played in the sevens format of the sport is slated to be held in September this year and will feature six teams in its inaugural season.”

Can Indian Rugby Premier League become IPL of rugby?

Around developing and performance nations we’ve seen sevens used as the vehicle for development. But to use it as a vehicle for both fostering talent and commercial power requires a lot of parts clicking into place.

Sevens is a sport with an established and recognisable circuit of invitational events, as well as competitions like the Super Sevens Series in the UK. In the US, the Premier Rugby Sevens competition has steadily gone about its business, while mega-bucks one-off events are yet to be realised elsewhere in the country.

As one commenter under the initial post on Rugby India’s X channel said, “When will (the) franchises auction take place?” alluding to the power of the Indian Premier League cricket’s draft for talent. But that sport is a powerhouse, and demands global attention. Anything with elite sevens players will be a lot lower profile.

What is important for any event like this is sustainability, planning, and steady growth.

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