Friday, April 29, 2016

BREAKING: Melville To Leave USA Rugby, Join RFU

U.S.A. Rugby CEO Nigel Melville is leaving the United States to join the RFU as Director of Professional Rugby. He was already set to leave his post to be the CEO of Rugby International Marketing. The announcement from the RFU doesn't specifically state that he will be leaving that position but it's assumed that his new role will be a full-time job. (EDIT: Melville is leaving his job at RIM as well.)  The search for a new CEO at U.S.A. Rugby will continue but will likely take a different twist. What happens to RIM is now a big question.

"We are delighted to welcome Nigel to the RFU in what is an exciting time for England Rugby for both the men’s and women’s games," said Ian Ritchie, CEO of the RFU in a press release. "He will bring a great deal of expertise from not only his experiences from working in England but internationally at USA Rugby.”

Take the jump to read more.

"I would like to thank USA Rugby for their support and I am very proud of what has been achieved in the organisation and the game in the US over the last decade," said Melville. "I feel I am leaving USA Rugby in a very strong place to continue the growth it has experienced in recent years and keep improving internationally.

“However, I am now hugely excited about this opportunity to join England Rugby in what is a very buoyant time. This year already the men have claimed the Grand Slam, the domestic game has continued to thrive, the U20s are looking to win the World Rugby U20 Junior World Championship in Manchester and the men and women will compete in the sevens competition at the Olympics in Rio for the first time ever.

"I am looking forward to helping bring further success to England teams.”

Melville's tenure at U.S.A. Rugby has had it's up and down to be sure. The game has grown at the youth level by leaps and bounds in his ten years as CEO but not all of that can be directly attributed to his work as CEO, although many of his detractors would be quick to claim that Melville would readily take credit for the success to those in Europe. The Eagles have also gained a more professional rugby under the last ten years, especially in 7s. Melville was also responsible for the hiring of Mike Friday.

The match against New Zealand will probably be the high point of Melville's legacy. In retrospect his time may be marked as a person who has always had an eye on Europe and sometimes leveraged U.S.A. Rugby to advance his career and was anxious to kowtow to the power that be at World Rugby. For years he's been linked with various positions in Europe.

The debates of Melville's tenure aside this is a new opportunity for U.S.A. Rugby. Rugby in America is at a turning point and whoever comes in is going to have the chance to make big things happen.

What do you think of the news?


  1. There ought to be resignations from the USA Rugby board for allowing this debacle to happen. Making Melville CEO of USAR and RIM was stupid on the face of it. This board is inept and, for everyone's good, there should be some immediate turnover.

  2. USAR has done next to nothing to promote domestic rugby. PRP, ARP, now the Midwest Gold Cup, PRO Rugby - these are all initiatives that are succeeding not because of, but in spite of USAR. Melville may not have done damage to domestic rugby, but he certainly didn't help it, outside of raising money by bringing the ABs and Wallabies to town for a couple matches.

    1. In fairness U.S.A. Rugby has been the big drivers behind the ARP and the Gold Cup.

  3. I've been following rugby in america for 8 years now. I'm not really a casual follower either. I have a long list of rugby bookmarks. It is my opinion and observation that although Melville has a hand in some of the good things that have happened. Its is my perception that his involvement was a situation of doing enough to justify taking some if not in some cases all the credit. Overall he has been very counter productive for USA Rugby. I would agree with Misanthropic in that most things have succeeded in spite of his and USA Rugby's efforts or lack of effort. They have even been down right counter productive in many cases. I'll just quickly mention NRFL (regardless of the validity of the model debate) to make my point there. It is my opinion that the ONLY thing Melville has done correctly that he can take credit for is the hiring of Mike Friday. I would argue even on that topic he dragged his feet.

    1. The NRFL situation was a debacle of their own creation. Melville may have any number of failings but the NRFL created their own problems and frankly keeping USA Rugby away from that would have to rank as one of Melville's wiser moves. When "rugby" combines becomes a competitive sport give me a ring.

    2. I was referring to them proactively trying to disrupt and sabotage their efforts. At that time in american rugby working against anyone attempting to get something rolling in america is counter productive to the interests of the american rugby community.

      It is my perception that the NRFL wasn't going to tolerate being controlled by USA Rugby. Which make no mistake is controlled by World Rugby.

      I'd be willing to bet we don't get an American CEO like the majority of the american rugby community wants. I bet we end up getting another foreigner controlled by World Rugby.

  4. Dude is gone, so let's get down to brass tacks: what now?