But despite the game's status across the globe, rugby - the de facto national sport of New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Wales - pales in comparison in terms of popularity to baseball, basketball, football and hockey in North America.
Rugby's lack of popularity across the continent isn't lost on Karl Fix, who has been involved with the sport in some capacity for nearly 40 years.
"(Rugby's popularity in North America is) very limited," admitted Fix, a cofounder of the Prairie Fire Rugby Football Club and also the president of the Dog River Howlers rugby club.
"You go out to games here (and) there's 50 or 100 people ... When Canada plays an international game, we're very lucky if we get 10,000 fans; that would be a good one. It has changed a little bit, but when South Africa plays or when England plays, there's 80,000 or 100,000 fans."
Fix recently set his sights on adapting rugby sevens - a relatively simple form of the game - to what he called the "North American sports psyche" to help drive up interest in rugby across the continent.
"Having been involved with rugby for a long time, I saw that it wasn't growing - the fan base was not growing," Fix noted. "There was very limited growth ... The motivation was strictly to make it attractive to the North American audience, the viewing audience and also the people who come into the game."
Taking a lead from the game of football, Fix changed the format of rugby sevens from two seven-minute halves to four 15-minute quarters with an extended halftime period. As opposed to the traditional game, in which substitutions are few and far between, Fix's game - which boasts larger rosters than the traditional format - relies heavily on frequent strategic substitutions.
Additionally, instead of the two-day tournament format that is generally utilized in the traditional game, Fix views ultra sevens rugby as someday being played in a league format.
After some deliberation, Fix's new style of the sport was dubbed "ultra sevens rugby."
Although Fix's alterations to rugby - a sport he calls the "last bastion of British colonialism" - are quite radical in nature, he insisted that the reception he has so far gotten from the rugby community has been mostly positive.
Robin MacDowell, who is involved in 15 different rugby programs in Saskatchewan, emphasized that he and others have been enthralled by Fix's ultra sevens concept from the very beginning.
"I was thrilled (when Fix explained his idea), to be honest - I was really thrilled ...," MacDowell noted. "Everybody is very interested."
On Saturday, the inaugural ultra sevens rugby match is to be contested between the Regina Prairie Fire, which is to be coached by MacDowell, and the North Saskatchewan Wolverines. The contest, with the Thompson Cup at stake, is to be played at the Regina Rugby Union clubhouse.
Tickets to the event, which is to also feature several other traditional rugby matches, are to be available at the door.
Looking past the inaugural ultra sevens match on the weekend, Fix hopes to put on another contest - perhaps a women's match - in Canada in 2013. But before that, he intends on further marketing his game to the greater rugby community.
MacDowell, who has played in nearly 100 matches at the international level in his career, emphasized that he feels the future is bright for Fix's brand of rugby.
"I think it could spread like wildfire through the country, really," MacDowell offered. "The concept is very unique in that it's a one-hour sevens game."
Fix isn't certain what the future holds for his new style of rugby, but he is hopeful moving forward.
"(How much the sport can grow is) the million-dollar question," Fix said with a laugh. "Obviously, I think it's a great concept - a lot of other people do - but we'll see. Time will tell.
"You want to be optimistic, but also realistic. This is the first game and, like they say, 'One step at a time, sweet Jesus.' "
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