Wednesday, November 23, 2011

U.S. Super League 2012 Schedule Press Release

U.S. Rugby Super League Announces 2012 Schedule
November, 22, 2011

The sixteenth season of the Rugby Super League will kick off on March 12th, 2012 as 10 teams from across the nation battle to be crowned the top club in America. The regular season will last eleven weeks with the final matches being played on May 19th. The semi-finals will then take place between the top two teams in each conference, followed by the final. This year promises to bring even more action to fans as some changes have been made to the league schedule and format.

Highlighting the list of changes is the expansion of the schedule from 6 games to 8, the longest season ever played by the Super League. Each team from the five team conferences will play the other four teams in their conference two times, once at home and once away. While this still may not be enough games to constitute an alternative league to European rugby, RSL President Sean Kelly thinks that "what the RSL does is give those players who can not compete in a league of that length a chance to play at a higher level in this country." Kelly also recognizes that a increase in the number of games will end up costing more in travel but that each club understands and accepts that as a tradeoff for more matches.

NYAC Head Coach Mike Tolkin also sees the benefit of playing more games for top players. "Simply put, players want to play games. As for the national team players, one of the complaints is too few matches in the RSL, so we hope this makes the league more enticing. Because of the limited resources of USA Rugby in general, we need to get our national team players more matches to better prepare them, and we hope those continue to become of a better standard."

In another change, Rugby Super League is looking into streaming of all its matches. "We have been in contract with a company that specializes in it and we think that we can do it without breaking the bank," said Kelly. How this service becomes available is still in the works but should be great news for fans who have long clamored for more availability of high-level matches.

Other changes to the format included the loss of the Chicago Lions as a result of changes to the Midwest Rugby Union's eligibility for players. Kelly says it would have been hard for the Lions to "justify limiting 25 of there players to only 6 to 8 competitive games in a year and therefore took the step to drop out of the league in order to allow these players to compete all year round even if it meant leaving the league that they help found." When asked about expansion, Kelly reported the that league held talks with both the Glendale Raptors and Olympic Club about entry into the league. Other changes include placing the Chicago Griffins in the West, and the Dallas Harlequins in the East.

Even with the overall positive changes to the league, there are still challenges for the league and its clubs. NYAC head coach Mike Tolkin says that the Rugby Super League's "biggest challenges continue to be creating a larger pool of really competitive teams; having all teams with acceptable/good facilities in order to promote RSL as an elite competition; gaining major sponsorship, and getting TV coverage, esp. for finals."

Even despite these obstacles, the increased number of matches and possible streaming of matches, the Rugby Super League finds itself in a position to make a bigger imprint on rugby in America than ever before.

2012 RSL SCHEDULE
WEST Conference (RED) EAST Conference (BLUE)
Chicago Griffins Boston Rugby
Denver Barbarians Dallas Harlequins
Old Puget Sound Beach Life University
San Francisco Golden Gate New York Athletic Club
Utah Warriors Old Blue New York

Week 1 - March 10, 2012
Denver Barbarians @ Utah Warriors
Old Blue New York @ New York Athletic Club
Dallas Harlequins @ Life University

Week 2 - March 17, 2012
Utah Warriors @ San Francisco Golden Gate
Chicago Griffins @ Denver Barbarians
Boston Rugby @ Old Blue New York
New York Athletic Club @ Dallas Harlequins

Week 3 - March 24, 2012
Old Puget Sound Beach @ Utah Warriors
San Francisco Golden Gate @ Chicago Griffins
New York Athletic Club @ Boston Rugby
Life University @ Old Blue New York

Week 4 – March 31, 2012
Denver Barbarians @ San Francisco Golden Gate
Chicago Griffins @ Old Puget Sound Beach
Boston Rugby @ Life University
Old Blue New York @ Dallas Harlequins

Week 5 - April 7, 2012 – (EASTER)
Old Puget Sound Beach @ San Francisco Golden Gate

Week 6 - April 14, 2012
Old Puget Sound Beach @ Denver Barbarians
Utah Warriors @ Chicago Griffins
Life University @ New York Athletic Club
Dallas Harlequins @ Boston Rugby

Week 7, April 21, 2012
Denver Barbarians @ Chicago Griffins
San Francisco Golden Gate @ Utah Warriors
New York Athletic Club @ Old Blue New York
Life University @ Dallas Harlequins

Week 8 - April 28, 2012
Utah Warriors @ Old Puget Sound Beach
Chicago Griffins @ San Francisco Golden Gate
Old Blue New York @ Life University
Boston Rugby @ New York Athletic Club

Week 9 May 5, 2012
Old Puget Sound Beach @ Chicago Griffins
San Francisco Golden Gate @ Denver Barbarians
Life University @ Boston Rugby
Dallas Harlequins @ Old Blue New York

Week 10 - May 12, 2012
Denver Barbarians @ Old Puget Sound Beach
Chicago Griffins @ Utah Warriors
New York Athletic Club @ Life University
Boston Rugby @ Dallas Harlequins

Week 11 - May 19, 2012
San Francisco Golden Gate @ Old Puget Sound Beach
Utah Warriors @ Denver Barbarians
Dallas Harlequins @ New York Athletic Club
Old Blue New York @ Boston Rugby

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