Korea Super Rugby League, celebrating the 100th anniversary of Korean rugby, starts anew with the introduction of new teams, promotion and relegation system, and mercenaries

The Korean rugby league has been renovated in a special year.

The Korea Rugby Association held the 2023 Korea Super Rugby League Opening Media Day at the ENA Suite Hotel Convention Hall in Seosomun-dong, Seoul on the 20th. Coaches and representative players from 4 general teams (KEPCO, Hyundai Glovis, POSCO E&C, OK Financial Group) and 3 university teams (Korea University, Yonsei University, Kyunghee University) attended and expressed their determination for the upcoming league.

◆Keeping out the best rugby team

The Korea Super Rugby League, which started in 2007 and celebrated its 8th this year, is the stage to determine the best rugby team in Korea. It was last year that the league was in full shape. With the support of the title sponsor, OK Financial Group, the weekend league system and paid ticket sales have been established스포츠토토, laying the foundation for future development. 

This year, the league is divided into 1st and 2nd leagues. The first league will start with the opening round to be held on the 25th at Songhwa Rugby Stadium in Gyeongsan, Gyeongsangbuk-do, and a total of three rounds will be held. The 2nd league is scheduled to resume in May after a short break due to training and dispatch of the Armed Forces Athletic Unit for the WR Seven’s Challenger Series, an international competition scheduled for April.

◆Reorganization to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Korean rugby

2023 is a significant year for the rugby world. This is because Korean rugby, which began in 1923 as an exhibition match held at a soccer tournament hosted by the Joseon Sports Association, celebrated its 100th anniversary. Accordingly, this league has also been renovated with various and bold changes.

First, a new team, OK Financial Group’s Thumman Rugby Team, joined. The Thumman Rugby Team held an official inauguration ceremony on the same day with coach Oh Young-gil, who won the semifinals of the Japan National Rugby Championship for two consecutive years (2009-2010), and announced their solemn start.

The lift system is introduced for the first time. The results of the 1st league are applied in the 2nd league. The winner of the 4th place in the 1st league in the general division and the ROK Army Sports Corps remain in the top division, and the loser belongs to Division 1 and competes with the 1st and 2nd place teams in the university division. The third-place university team and the non-participating Dankook University belong to Division 2 with the spring league university championship team and compete in the second league. There is a possibility of change in the future, but the overall framework has been established.

◆ ‘Defending Champ’ under intense check KEPCO

The attention of the coaches and players who attended Media Day was focused on KEPCO. KEPCO is the strongest player who succeeded in winning all three wins in the first and second competitions last year with three wins in each of three matches.

The point to watch this year is also whether KEPCO will dominate. KEPCO coach Kim Dong-hwan, who felt relaxed, said, “All sports participate to win. Our team this season is the same.” Kim Gwang-min, representative of the KEPCO team, also expressed his determination, saying, “There will be obstacles from many teams, but we will definitely win the championship this year.”

Foreign players also join for the first time. Through this, the association aims to help each team secure players smoothly and strengthen league competitiveness. Excluding KEPCO, Hyundai Glovis, POSCO E&C, and OK Financial Group recruited a total of seven foreign players to make their debut.

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