Valke embrace new horizons

It isn’t every day that a new international rugby competition backed by one of Australasia’s leading businessmen is launched, so when Global Rapid Rugby was announced in November 2018 the reverberations were felt far and wide.

One of the places the news created buzz was in the offices of Valke Rugby Union based in South Africa’s Highveld. With the same innovate approach that saw Rapid Rugby come to life, Valke officials sought original ideas to join Andrew Forrest’s new Asia-Pacific based league.

“Rapid Rugby presented a great opportunity to get exposure in an international competition and that was very exciting,” said Valke Director of rugby, Rudy Joubert.

“We felt we had something to offer emerging rugby nations and our approach to Malaysia to form a mutually beneficial partnership was warmly received. We have enjoyed a very positive relationship and have ambitious goals around the development of a team that can compete strongly in Rapid Rugby as well as continue to develop the game in Malaysia to the point they qualify for the Rugby World Cup.

Malaysian players Badrul Bin Muktee (left) and Samuel Meran (right) with Valke Captain Shane Kirkwood (Centre)

“On one hand we’ll be helping grow rugby in Asia, which is important for the game globally, and on the other hand we’ll give more exposure to our club and creating an attractive destination for players,” Joubert said.

In what is a significant show of commitment to Rapid Rugby, Valke has brought their first-grade team to Perth despite knowing they’ll likely see their unbeaten run in Currie Cup’s first division end with a top of the table clash back in South Africa scheduled this weekend.

“Everyone at the club was committed to bringing out the most experienced and competitive team we had available to play against the Western Force and that is what we have done,” Joubert said.

“We have pulled together players to take part in our Currie Cup fixture but it will be a tough challenge.

“We have seen the good standard that Rapid Rugby has already achieved and that will only continue to improve. It’s exciting for us. We love running rugby and moving the ball, and the laws encourage that. It is something that fits our style of play and our team culture,” Joubert added.

The team arrived in Perth on Wednesday afternoon after making the 8,300 kilometre trip from South Africa and immediately linked up with two Malaysian players who’ll be part of the match day squad. In addition, the Malaysian national team manager will also be part of the build-up and game day activities.

“Going forward we will integrate more Malaysian players but this was our best option for a single game as part of the 2019 Showcase,” Joubert said.

“We have been to Malaysia a few times and are working well together. We understand where we are going and have identified benefits for both sides. This is just the start.”

Western Force v Malaysia Valke

Friday, 9 August 2019
Gates open 4:30pm | On-field entertainment 6:15pm | Kick-off 6.30pm

Tickets $10 – from Ticketmaster or at the gate

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