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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Longer Schedule Means Career Choices For Domestic Eagles


If the Eagles have as busy of a schedule in 2016 as has been suggested, it's going to create an interesting problem for many domestic players. Just to recap here is what is set for next year:

  • January or February against the Argentinian Super Rugby team (this was rumored and it may have been scrapped)
  • February and March: Americas Six Nations
  • April through August: Pro Rugby
  • June: PNC plus Italy
  • October: Americas Rugby Championship
  • November: European Tour
In total that leaves only two months, September and December, when the players in the Eagles pool aren't playing rugby. That's also the possibility of over 20 matches for domestic players. Bear in mind that European-based players will come in for the June and November tours but the rest will almost certainly be all domestic. Additionally, the top domestic players will on the June and November tours as well. Throw in participation in competitions like the PRP and ARP and it's a full-time load.

Take the jump to read more.If it's a full-time load, that begs the question how are players going to make a living? The addition of Pro Rugby is going to help and surely the top domestic players will be some of the top earners in the competition but will it be enough to sustain them for the whole year? Players do get small appearance fee when they play for the Eagles which helps some players but it's going to be on U.S.A. Rugby to put forth the money to support them. 

To be honest, we're not sure what is going to happen. In some ways this longer schedule lends itself better to young players who aren't established in their careers. However, college players can't always get the time off and as we've seen at the OTC, some players aren't willing to sacrifice their careers for what were at the time small stipends. On the flip side, having younger players be immersed in rugby like this is exactly what needs to happen for the U.S. to grow solid players. 

Could it be that U.S.A. Rugby is going to have to centrally contract some domestic players? It certainly seems headed that way. It may be possible to send some down to the OTC but that doesn't really work with props. Plus, 7s duty may take them away from 15s. Also, would a central contract with U.S.A. Rugby conflict with a contract from Pro Rugby? Because there hasn't been any indication of central contracts from U.S.A. Rugby or what the salary structure will be for Pro Rugby, it's far too early to tell but it's worth asking the question. 

10 comments:

  1. I think the ARC will go away with the Americas 6N event taking it's place. It only makes sense since the A6N is the ARC with Chile and Brazil thrown in.

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    1. I've been told from several sources that it's not going away.

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    2. Pro Rugby? Show me something real.

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    3. Wow! I can't believe they would keep the ARC while adding A6N. That just seems a bit silly. If we are honest, A6N is probably going to be mostly our best domestic players and a few pros. Will the ARC then be for those fringe players that wouldn't get normal game time

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  2. The bottom line is this … USA Rugby has to start acting like a business. Should there be no revenue stream to support all these initiatives then failure is the inevitable result with the players being the ones that suffer most.

    The bottom line is that Eagle squad players need to be paid a respectable livable wage between the Pro Rugby initiative and time spent preparing for and representing the national team.

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    Replies
    1. Similar to the 7s program, we should contract our best 30-50 domestic players. It doesn't need to be much, but think how helpful a $10,000 stipend would be for each player. That would be a significant investment by USAR, but it would help those who aren't playing professionally. It might even make sense to have that stipend for several of the Pro Rugby guys in addition to their pro contracts. Between that, the sevens players contracted at the OTC, and the players overseas we should be able to build a decent squad of players. Even if the guys could make about $40,000 per year, that is livable in most of America for a young single guy.

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  3. So Pro Rugby is confirmed for 2016? I thought there was some talk about it maybe starting in 2017? Sorry if I missed that news.

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    Replies
    1. No, nothing is confirmed. Everything is speculation at the moment.

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  4. The ProRugby folks are saying there will be an announcement on Monday regarding the league. Hopefully there will be more questions answered than raised but this certainly has a better feel than the NRFL.

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  5. Still waiting to see USA Rugby do something positive for the sport here. Between non-support of PRP and having done little (nothing?) to support the growth of club rugby into something sustainable at a higher level - what have they contributed?

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