Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Q&A: Answers To Your Questions

You asked, we answered. The latest question and answer session was full of great topics including the Eagles, the new Major Rugby Championship you heard about earlier today, The Rugby Channel, and more.

G Ha: Any updates on PRO Rugby? Some rumors I have heard: The SF team is looking for a new venue. There will be 2 teams added but neither in Canada. More foreign players will be coming. A South African side will be joining the league with it being a developmental side in preparation for the Currie Cup. Can you expand on these and any other info you may have.

Anglo-American: Does ProRugby survive to make season 2?

TIAR: All I will say at this point is more info to come very, very soon.

Gregory Parkes-Skelly: Do have any information on what the 'Major Rugby Championship' that Glendale will be competing in? Any other teams?

TIAR: Yep. Just to repeat a little of what we posted earlier today the MRC will feature the Raptors, Rugby Utah, the Austin Huns, Griffins, and NOLA. Like the Cal Cup it's meant to be a one-off competition to help fill the gap as the PRP moves to the fall. It should be interesting to see how it plays out. Glendale are the big favorites but Rugby Utah could be the surprise. You can expect Glendale to broadcast matches as they usually do. 

Take the jump to read more.
Charley: Why do USA representative teams, at all levels, constantly have trouble holding their own in the scrum against other tier II countries?

TIAR: That is the big question folks have been trying to answer for years. I think one of the biggest obstacles to U.S. doing well in the scrum is the age in which players pick up the game. Georgian players are focusing on rugby and the scrum at a much younger age. The same goes for Japan. I'm not suggesting specialization for every U.S. player but for the elite players at the youth level they need to spend a month or so every summer in a scrum speciality camp. Canada have our same problem.

Another element is simply time together and time in an elite environment. It's no surprise that the Eagles scrum is usually at its best around the start of the World Cup (fwiw we thought that Justin Fitzpatrick did well with the scrum last cycle) because they've had several months together. Japan and Georgia have teams that play together a lot, we don't. PRO Rugby certainly helped but players need more. Again, there is no quick fix. If people knew what to do they would be doing it. More camps seem on the cards but elite playing time is needed. 

Paul Acutt: Why the hell is the therugbychannel.tv allowed to exist and hide the American national rugby team behind a pay TV curtain?

TIAR: Ha! The Rugby Channel has certainly found a niche but one has to question whether it is sustainable. Originally TRC was touted as an over the top option, especially for the Eagles but it seems that they have turned to exclusive coverage of the Eagles to help fill the coffers. Serious question, if it wasn't for the Eagles matches on TRC how many people would pay for the service?

Overall, I think TRC has a purpose and should survive but there is no question that Nigel Melville and folks thought all they had to do was build it and people would naturally flock to it. Banner ads through Google don't really work as well as people would like. It's all about content and right now TRC doesn't have a lot of interesting content. Dallen Stanford's recap show is excellent but there needs to be more of that. What about a weekly call-in show? Fans might tune into that even if they don't normally watch the content on there.

Just to give you an example of where TRC could improve, especially in how they view their product. Earlier we asked TRC is there film we could use so Derek Sagehorn could put together one of his great analysis pieces. Essentially what we were told was that they wouldn't give us anything unless we did something for them. Well, the last time I checked we always include them in our Weekend Television Listings. Additionally, what better free advertisement is there for them then to have the matches you produce analyzed using your video? Maybe someone that missed an Eagles match and then read the analysis might tune in to the next one. Anyways, like I'm sure you feel TRC has promise but it's so frustrating that it's not more. 

WM: Any Rumors of professional contracts for Americans/Eagles?

TIAR: None that we know of. However, players often tend to get signed on medical replacement contracts after the new year or during the Six Nations. That is made a little bit more difficult with the Americas Six Nations but you could still see some players make a move. 

RSB: What has happened to Seamus Kelly and is he still involved with the Eagles?

TIAR: He's been playing (well) for NYAC while also focusing on his career. From what we understand he needed to take a step back from the Eagles in order to get settled in his life. He could be back soon. 

Tony Sileo: What is the deal with being able to view HSBC Sevens in the USA this year? Which parties are involved in the geoblocking, licensing rights, or whatever is preventing it (or is that just a rumor?). If it's NBC Sports, why aren't they broadcasting or streaming the video content?

TIAR: NBC Sports do own the rights. As we saw this last weekend they weren't going to do anything with it so they released the geo-block. Who knows if that is going to happen going forward. From what we can tell they didn't even think about taking the geo-block off until someone asked them to. If there is a positive from the demise of Universal Sports it is that NBC Sports won't block a whole tournament for two hours of coverage in the middle of the night.  Our guess is the NBC Sports simply doesn't have the space to broadcast two full days of action. 

Gregory Parkes-Skelly: Any idea whether United World Sports Super 7s concept is still incplay or has it been confined to the scrapheap.

TIAR: I wouldn't say it is in the scrapheap but it didn't gain a lot of traction. We could still see something happen but it seems that with PRO Rugby and other initiatives they may have lost their chance.

1 comment:

  1. After watching the proof of concept game I was less than sold about trying to shoe horn a game of 7s in an hour long timeframe.

    I'm not against the concept of taking a shortened version of the game and trying to commercialize it, I just think UWS tried to do it with the wrong format. Personally, I could see their proposed format working very well with 10s. Tens is a fantastic format to both watch and play. While 7s is a very different game to 15s, 10s is essentially the same as the 15 man game but with more space to create. Anyway.

    Regarding the news to come "very, very soon" on PRO. Is it positive or negative? Just give us a hint.