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@Number8, Super Rugby would be a great way for the USA and Canada to face top notch competition and get caught up to speed by being thrown in the fire. I think Argentina is going to be slowly worked into Super Rugby to better accommodate the new 4N after Los Pumas join. I'd love a pro league for the USA and Canada alone so as to grow the game in those countries but I don't know how beneficial it would be if they were only playing each other and not against the best the world has to offer. I'm sure the US and Canada would want to be more like the SH so they could try to beat the SH. Keep in mind Super Rugby is where the top 3 nations in the world draw upon to fill their ranks.
Posted 22:36 26th June 2011
MIlesman_1, I agree with your point that it's going to be a while before the USA get close to cracking the top 10. I think if professional rugby were to happen quickly in North America a group of investors would have to buy the USA Super League, offer contracts to it's current players and tell the worlds best that this is where the money is come play in the USA while marketing the imports to the American public. Thatt would have to be combined with the smart broadcasting of games not only in terms of showing games at times w/ minimal competition from other sports but also having broadcasters who could explain the rules sufficiently during the matches. I believe that rugby is so superior to the NFL that if the American people gave it a real chance the NFL could be killed off...eventually.
Posted 14:12 21st June 2011
5Lock4ward - I don't disagree with you, and I think eireoldboy raises a possible strategy as well, but I said the 'foreseeable future'. The great strides at the grassroots level will not show any real sustainable returns for 20 years, and given the pace of the professional game around the world, I think we will be left to lanquish in the 'teens' of world rankings - whereby a competitive professional league would see us in the Top 10 within 5 years (NB - influx of American football players and power forwards from b-ball; yes it'll be 'run forest run', but they'd have an impact). What can I say - I'm an impatient ex-pat always getting grief by colleagues here in the UK.
Both interesting and disappointing to hear about the NCAA. Given the amount of predominantly male professional sports, one might think that the NCAA would take a realistic stance on gender equality, rather than trying to be all PC
Posted 10:53 21st June 2011
The Magners' League sponsorship is done and dusted. Now, we have the RaboDirect Pro 12 League (ain't that a mouthful). Given that the four Home Unions have lots of players, teams and a large "mind share" of the general public, the sponsorship turn-over rate is a bit alarming. One hope of getting any type of Can-Am (semi) pro league set-up would be to have ESPN and TSN sponsor a couple of "pro tournaments" near Bristol Conn. and at a site that makes sense in Canada. Both fifteens and sevens matches could be intermingled on the day to get the most "bang for the buck" in terms of stadia, TV and rugby crews. Play two fifteens matches per day for four teams on Saturday, Wednesday and Sunday. Then, have eight 7's teams play their matches before, between and after the 15's fixtures. Plus, there could be club fixtures on the free weekend days to push up attendance. OK...the Wednesday crowd might be a bit thin. The reward might be a mid-week fixture against a touring country. This way the Can Am players could dip the toe into professional waters whilst still being able to have a non-rugby profession.
Posted 16:53 20th June 2011
@ MIlesman1, the problem with getting rugby as a scholarship varsity sport in the States is that the NCAA demands an even balance between male and female athletes. Since there is no female equivalent for American football it prevents rugby from becoming and NCAA sanctioned sport for men due to the imbalance already in the men's favor. There is currently a movement to make women's rugby fall under the NCAA umbrella but this does nothing to help the men's game in the USA. The long term strength of the game in America will have to start at the youth level and that is growing quickly in the USA at least, I'm not sure about Canada's figures.
Posted 15:32 20th June 2011
The truth of the matter is that the States will stay around 15th for the foreseeable future, until rugby becomes a varsity scholarship sport in the universities, or a 100% professional league is formed. Have one, and the other will surely follow.
The challenge is ensuring that Big Brother (the NFL), does not see this as a threat. Completely different games, but a pro league would have to be played outside of the NFL season.
Canada though will continue to slowly progress up the rankings. They'll then jump in when the time is right for a North American Pro League.
Posted 12:56 20th June 2011
I think they could get some colleges that don't already have outstanding grid iron or basketball programmes on side as well, to deepen the pool of talent available. That would help generate local interest too, as everyone in north America loves supporting their local college outfits.
Posted 23:50 19th June 2011
I'm extremely happy to hear that both the USA and Canada will now be 'integrated into the existing portfolio of international strategic investment tournaments.' Now USA Rugby and Canada Rugby need to work out a way to create a pro-league similar to the one that exists for lacrosse in both countries. Either that or get some teams from Boston, NYC, Montreal and Toronto in the Magners League and Vancouver and LA in Super Rugby.
Posted 16:09 19th June 2011