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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Q&A: Answers To Your Questions

You asked and we answered--well, at least tried to--your questions in our latest Q&A. As expected many of the questions centered around PRO Rugby but there were also questions about the Eagles. We want to thank those that submitted a question and if you missed it time make sure to participate in the next go around.

TxnG8r: What are the avenues that the PRO are looking at taking in terms of broadcasting their games? They have said online channel, once on the FB page they said TV, another time they said both. Any chance of clearing away some of the fog on this?

TIAR: Great question. I know that this was pushed somewhat to the back burner as the league focused on getting players and venues settled (can't stream matches without players and venues) but now that both of those things are squared away for the most part moves are being made on the streaming front. It's a possibility a cable channel deal works out but it could also be that the league partners with an online service. The way things are trending there is less of a push to get on cable.

Take the jump to read more.

Evan: I read on another site that John Quill had retired from international rugby, though I never saw this officially announced. Is there any truth to this? Has there been anybody else who has quietly bowed out? (I know Wyles, Smith, LaValla, ect)

Also, any word on Seamus Kelly? He has been quiet since the World Cup and was a player I was excited to see grow. 

TIAR: You read other sites!!!!? Just kidding. I hadn't heard that about Quill and it would surprise me. He's still a very young guy and now that he's playing PRO Rugby there isn't a reason to retire from the national team. Maybe if he was unsettled and playing in the lower leagues of Ireland but not if he's playing in PRO Rugby.  Several other players have quietly gone out but it might not be permanent. 

Seamus Kelly is in New York playing with NYAC. PRO Rugby was certainly a possibility but it could be that he has a better job in New York that he doesn't want to give up.

Cailin: Can we see a comparison of teams by position? I'd like to start with a comparison of halfbacks, then move to the other positions. Ultimately ranking each team according to position (i.e. Ohio is ranked 1 for halfbacks, 3 for centers, etc., adding together the rankings to arrive at the best team (projected) this way. Similar analysis based on age and caps.

TIAR: Those are good ideas. We'll see what we can do.

Cailin: What is PRO Rugby's concussion protocol? What technology are they employing (BrainBand, etc.) to diagnose hits on the field, then post-game?  Are they working with any universities and/or research programs to help develop a concussion test that can be used on the field or as part of a head injury assessment?

TIAR: Not sure but I'm sure they have one. They have been very careful and deliberate so I doubt they have something ready.

Cailin: Would Pro Rugby be willing to work with interns (I know several) to up their social media presence? Be more responsive to comments made? Tickets?

TIAR: They are already being more active on social media and are upping their presence. As for tickets, places like Sacramento, San Diego, and Denver has stadiums that help sell tickets for them. San Francisco and Ohio are on their own but tickets will reportedly be available soon.

Brian Jackson: Given the secrecy of the whole operation and that the rugby public has been drip fed information on a seemingly need to know basis one can one muse that the string pullers are at this stage on an anything is better than nothing plan? 

TIAR: I assume you are talking about PRO Rugby here. One of the things that the organizers have conveyed to me is that things haven't always gone according to plan but that there is definitely a plan in place. It may not be on our time but it's working for them.

Rugger 08: Any leads on applicants for the next USA Rugby CEO position? US or foreign? Will they hire internally? 

TIAR: No club to be honest. However, Melville isn't really going away so whoever in the CEO won't really be in charge.

Unknown: Any word on how Ebner is acclimatizing to the OTC? Saw him in an Instagram video from the team. He'll need to knock off the rust in real tournaments if he has any chance. Do you think they'll name him to the Travelling side for a leg? Or maybe have him play in another high level tourney?

TIAR: He' seems to be doing well. The Eagles don't really have anything to lose brining Ebner to a tournament so we think he makes one that will allow him to get back in the swing of things.

Unknown:  For PRO coach interviews: any teams planning to scrimmage local clubs or universities before the season starts? Probably need a chance to play together and identify problems.

TIAR: I've asked about this and it's going to depend on team to team. However, it would make sense to have Sacramento and San Francisco play each other.

Unknown:  A Paul Keeler interview mentioned that Michael Haley got signed because of his combine performance. Do we have any details on which guys got identified via the combines? I don't think Joe Taufetee counts.

TIAR: Not really sure who was identified via the combines or who was solidified because of the combines. 

Kiwi Super fan:  Now that Super Rugby is available to US fans via ESPN, what do US fans make of this league? Is this the style of game that will appeal to Americans? More so that say the Aviva Premiership style (London Irish vs Saracens)? Japan and Argentina have made ground over the US in part through emulating and studying deeply (and now joining) Super Rugby - your thoughts? 

TIAR: Based on the reaction I've seen Super Rugby is easily the most followed competition in the States. Let's face it, most people want to watch exciting attacking rugby. That's not just appealing to American fans but all fans. I really think that the Top 14 is is some ways more popular than the Premiership. If the Top 14 had as many Americans in it as the Premiership it wouldn't even be a question. 

The U.S. joining Super Rugby is an interesting thought but SAANZAR has to be worried about the dilution of the competition. Remember, Japan as had professional rugby for over a decade and it's just now starting to show dividends. The U.S. is also going to have to stay similarly diligent.

1 comment:

  1. The Spirit of Rugby. Looks like Pro rugby is here to stay and it is a good opportunity for players who want to go down that road. It is a demanding way of life and requires sacrifices not all players are prepared to make and management's expectations of players will be high. Hopefully then competitions such as the PRP here on the west coast will continue to move forward and give more players the opportunity to play at a higher amateur level and that both pro and amateur can flourish without bad blood between organizers. Allowing pro players to put appearances for PRP teams and vice versa would help as would having the PRP in the fall and the Pro league in the spring/summer might help. Any set up which allows more players to compete at a higher level has got to be good for the future of rugby in the USA as long as The Spirit of Rugby is not left behind or buried by a win at all cost attitude. Rugby has always been regarded as the ultimate team sport and has emphasized the values associated with working together but in recent years the cult of individual celebrations after scoring tries or kicking goals has crept into the game along with the hugging and kissing which used to be synonymous with football (soccer in the USA.) IMHO Jonny Sexton should have been cited for his recent charade against Scotland which did not go down well with rugby men, especially Irish rugby men, and is perhaps a red flag for rugby administrators indicating that a review of player behavior on the field is perhaps overdue.