Monday, May 16, 2016

Huns, Griffins Issue Statement On Professionalization

Press Release

Texas (May 16, 2016). Over the last couple of weeks there have been a few reports about the development of a new professional rugby championship, driven largely by the Huns Rugby (Austin, TX) and Griffins Rugby (Dallas/Ft.Worth). Griffins have had several full time players throughout the 15/16 season (meaning that rugby is their sole job, with a full time salary), they have a former British Lion as Director of Rugby and have had plans in place for a while for facility development. Similarly the Huns, who also have a few full time players, recently announced plans to step into professionalism; revealing renderings of an impressive club restructuring, a strategic partnership with French Top14 club Racing 92, signing Todd Clever as a club ambassador and building a stadium in Austin.

The two clubs are working closely together, along with several others from the Red River area, on a strategic plan that has now garnered interest from clubs further afield.

Take the jump to read more.

In order to remain open and inclusive with the larger rugby community, the Huns and Griffins have issued the following statement.

"Our plan is simply the next step in American rugby. While Doug Schoninger's PRO Rugby continues to build, the almost overnight introduction of a privately owned and operated new league doesn't alter the fact that many clubs have been building towards this for years. We want more, quality rugby and don't see this as a rival to PRO but rather a different approach that stems from the hard work and dedication of the entire rugby community. There have been several statements made by people outside our group claiming that we want to challenge PRO legally or object to the manner in which that league has been implemented. This is not our position! We have had discussions with PRO and are open to continue that dialog as we are with any rugby organization or stakeholder that wishes to know more. USA Rugby has had a presence at the majority of our meetings and has expressed support and we look forward to working within the existing USA Rugby structure as closely as possible.

The plan started as a way to move the Red River D1 league into a "Premiership" era but given the overwhelming interest from clubs around the country we are re-examining ways to include a larger geographical area. Our focus is on making rugby a commercial success and our definition of professional is as much about the behind the scenes infrastructure as it is about player salaries. Both are important to grow the league to where we can one day rival those overseas. We aim to implement strict development standards and timelines for any clubs involved but equally, we understand the value of a measured and scalable expansion.

We will attempt to keep the information coming as our development is fleshed out and we value the input of the amazing depth of experience and insight found in the American rugby community, without whom no professional league can succeed."

Richard Osborn                                   Phil Camm
Huns Rugby Management                  Griffins Rugby
Owner                                                 Managing Director
(m) 512-633-2114                              (m) 469-450-1773

About HUNS Rugby Football Club

The Huns Rugby Football Club was founded in 1972 and is one of the first rugby clubs of its kind in Central Texas. Over more than 40 years, the club has developed an organization and a culture that have produced winning teams, first class coaches and players. The Huns' training and competition fields are unmatched by any other in the region. For many years now The Huns Rugby football club remains one the largest men's clubs in the United States, competing in all 3 National USA Rugby 15s divisions and the National 7s division.


  1. What would be great is for PRO Rugby North America to have the teams be individually owned, and to allow other clubs to join the league. As we all know PRO has five teams in its league. Now add these next clubs or cities into the mix; Austin, Dallas/Ft. Worth, New York, Boston, Philly, Seattle, Portland, Phoenix and Atlanta.

    This would be a 14 team league with 2 conference, east and west.

    Eastern Conference:
    New York, Boston, Ohio, Atlanta, Philly, Dallas/ft. Worth and Austin

    Western Conference:
    San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle, Portland and Phoenix

    Home and Away for teams in the same Conference. (12 games each)
    Inter-Conference play would be 4 games.
    Regular Season games would be 16 game.
    Top 3 teams in each Conference make the playoffs. The next best 2 teams from either conference are the wild card teams.
    Seed #1 plays seed #8 just like an 8 team playoff bracket. The team with the better seed is the home team.

    I know this is very optimistic, but we all can dream a little! This could happen within the next 10 years.

  2. I would tweak this somewhat by removing Boston and Portland and inserting two Canadian sides based out of Vancouver and Toronto. Boston's ARP sides get shellacked on a weekly basis, so they don't appear to currently have Rugby players who can compete at such a level. Portland is close (enough) to Seattle, but I think a team based in Vancouver would be much stronger based on the strength of the BC Premier League.

    Chicago should also be on the list for expansion. Probably ahead of Phoenix at that. At the end of the day, expansion to 10 teams is feasible next year. Especially if two of those teams are Canadian sides. That would leave 3 US expansion teams: I would say NY, Philly, and Atlanta/Houston/Chicago.

  3. Instead of this East/West, have one conference where each team plays all the teams in the league twice, once home, once away. Since you have 14 teams divide it into 2 competitions, top 7 for the Premiership, 8-14 make up the Championship. 1-4 and 8-11 play for the Cup. Premiership wooden spoon relegates to the Championship, while winner of the Championship gets promoted to the Premiership. Championship wooden spoon is replaced by a new team if they are at the bottom of the table 3 years straight.