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    US Pro Rugby League?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2013...rbarians-irish

    Premier Rugby Limited, which represents the English Aviva Premiership clubs, and the National Football League are to jointly back an innovative rugby union plan in the US.

    London Irish will play an exhibition game this summer against a "US Barbarians"-style team blending international stars and promising young talent, the Guardian can reveal, with the aim to later create a professional rugby union competition in the United States.
    The match will take place at Gillette Stadium near Boston on August 10 and be called the Independence Cup. It is the first step towards establishing an East Coast league of about six teams from Boston to Miami that would begin as early as next year.
    The fixture is backed by Premier Rugby Limited (PRL) and the NFL via its NFL Network television channel, which is set to broadcast the game. A return match in London, ideally at Twickenham and potentially against a different club, will take place a week later and could be televised in the UK and Ireland by BT Sport, the new Premiership rights holder.
    The invitational US team to face London Irish will be given an identity evoking the New England region's Irish heritage. The organizers are hoping to entice the area's Irish population and raise a crowd of around 30,000 to show that professional club rugby could be viable in the US.
    If the event is a success, the plan is to build on that momentum and seek potential investors who are willing to pay for one of the new franchises and to conclude deals to play fixtures in NFL stadiums. The NFL Network is hoping to find live sports to cover outside of the American football season
    The promoters and producers, Minnesota-based RugbyLaw, believe that tens of millions of dollars will be required if the league is to be viable and of a high standard from the start. But PRL and the NFL are powerful partners and George Robertson and Michael Clements, of RugbyLaw, are convinced they have a winning formula.
    They think that well-known overseas stars will be attracted by the opportunity to live and work in the US, providing the league with headline acts. As for the unknowns who will fill out the bulk of the rosters, the organizers intend to tap in to a vast resource, the thousands of high-caliber college American football players who are forced to give up their athletics careers after their senior year because only a small percentage can make it to the NFL or the Canadian Football League (CFL). Players who make it to the NFL but are then discarded will also be considered.
    Given the similarities between American football and rugby, the ambitious hope is that the former football players can be persuaded to try a new sport - and learn it quickly enough to be effective.
    The organizers want to create a kind of American Barbarians for the match against London Irish, mixing established guest names with young players selected via a summer combine and month-long training camp at a university in the Midwest. US national team players will not be involved.
    The James Grant Group, a leading talent agency, has been engaged to find around ten well-known players who are available, for example by targeting internationals who are about to retire. Coaches with significant international experience are expected to be signed in the next few days.
    Robertson said he is confident the process can:
    "Swiftly identify and develop 15 then 30 then 100 international elite level rugby union XVs players from the graduating NCAA Division One athletes and with NFL or CFL players who wish to have another contact football career option. All they require is the appropriate respect paid to their ability and professional grade coaching. We will provide both."
    "The richest resource America can present to the world of rugby union will be the thousands of pro- level athletes currently not playing rugby union - the application of a well-thought-out system to find them, identify them, and then coach them."
    "There is no need to re-invent the wheel in how to find elite American rugby union talent - America is already the undisputed global leader in professional contact football with the NFL and NCAA - we will simply implement the same system starting with a combine."
    With only three months until the game at the home of the New England Patriots, the scheme faces a race against time to discover and train enough players to make it a credible contest.
    USARFU, US rugby's governing body, is cautiously backing the match but eager for more detail about the American team. There will be concerns that if a private league becomes reality, USARFU could lose influence over the future direction of rugby in the US. But a successful American rugby union league with a production line of young talent should help the national team thrive in the coming years as the country aims to develop enough to become a serious global player and host a World Cup within fifteen years.




    Anyone I've ever shown rugby to over here has pretty much loved it so a pro league MIGHT be viable with the right backing.

    It would provide a good outlet for the guys that don't make the cut for the NFL/CFL. There's a world of good wingers, crash bang 12's and backrows that could make the switch with a bit of training.

    Also, in the article comments, you might recognize someone of this parish.
    To The Brave and the Faithful, Nothing is Unpublishable.

    #2
    There's another article that has just gone up. http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2013...nal-league-nfl

    Can't see it taking off myself. Australia tried something similar about five years ago and it failed miserably.

    Comment


      #3
      It would need a lot of money, and I'm talking hundreds of millions of dollars, to make it even slightly viable.
      To The Brave and the Faithful, Nothing is Unpublishable.

      Comment


        #4
        yanks don't like to be bored..and the scrum is going to bore the ****e out of them

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by greenback View Post
          yanks don't like to be bored..and the scrum is going to bore the ****e out of them
          And the minute long stoppages every 10 seconds in the NFL doesn't?

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by greenback View Post
            yanks don't like to be bored..and the scrum is going to bore the ****e out of them
            Not really. That time would be filled with inscreen ad spots, replays or whatever else. If anything, any American I've watched rugby with has loved the scrum battle. I mean, nobody likes the scrum resets, but that's not a deal breaker for US viewers given the repeated stop start nature of NFL.
            To The Brave and the Faithful, Nothing is Unpublishable.

            Comment


              #7
              although I agree the US rugby can definately benefit from the vast pool of american football players I doubt if this would be the right setup. But I'll definately follow this.

              Also have people heard about the new US winger? within 6 months since starting rugby he was already in the US squad.

              Comment


                #8
                This general approach is going to work sooner or later. Investors will come at this, and for sure this effort will either work or set a mark for the next stage. They said "the plan is to build on that momentum and seek potential investors who are willing to pay for one of the new franchises and to conclude deals to play fixtures in NFL stadiums. The NFL Network is hoping to find live sports to cover outside of the American football season" Business opportunity ... even an opportunity for future referees to earn big in a decade

                Comment


                  #9
                  Clever move using the not nots as bait to draw in the crowds!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    They have tried several different schemes in the past with little success . However if they have NFL on board then they might just get it right this time .

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by joeriddick View Post
                      Not really. That time would be filled with inscreen ad spots, replays or whatever else. If anything, any American I've watched rugby with has loved the scrum battle. I mean, nobody likes the scrum resets, but that's not a deal breaker for US viewers given the repeated stop start nature of NFL.
                      Based on my experience of the one NFL game I attended, the fans spend most of their time down in the concourse drinking, smoking and eating. Can't see how the scrum would bore them, the game has time outs for television advertising.
                      We'll engrave your name in gold, as we did in days of old.
                      Roll along lovely Axel, roll along.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Saw a while back one of those 20:20 ESPN documentaries on American Football agents who were trying to get college players contracts with NFL teams . Lots of interesting bits including the efforts they made to prepare the players for their trials , hiring specialist coaches etc . One other thing stood out was that after the draft was completed the majority of the players were hired through deals between agents and the teams away from publicity and that the money was quite small . Most of those players making up the roosters were only going to get between $50,000 to $100,000 , not huge money .

                        Comment

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