Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Q&A: Answers To Your Questions

Photo: Colleen McCloskey

Awhile ago we asked you to ask some questions. You offered some great ones and we were more than happy to answer.

Aqua: What is PRO Rugby's next move? Are they obliged to have 3 seasons to keep their exclusive sanctioned rights? Where does senior men's club rugby go from here? Is there any discussion of unifying all the Major regional comps (ARP, MRC and PRP)?

TIAR: I'm not sure there is a next move. They have the entire year to play a "competition", whatever that means. It is clear at this point that PRO Rugby probably doesn't have the fan support to continue. 

As for the senior men's club rugby it seems like it's going to keep going down the same road it's been going down for awhile. The California teams are going to either be playing in the Cal Cup or the PRP going forward (the future of the PRP is currently being discussed). They will also be playing DI but the priority will be elite play. The ARP teams are going to continue doing what they do as well. Life is eliminating their men's team so that changes things in the east but it's hard not seeing Rocky Gorge entering an elite competition at some point. 

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There has been discussion of unifying the regional competitions but it comes down to timing and money. Timing has never really worked out for playing a big final and not all teams have money needed to travel on short-notice.

Caitlin: Will AJ MacGinty move to Bristol to reunite with his Connacht coach Pat Lam?

TIAR: Highly doubt it. He likes it at Sale and Sale like him. Also, starting regularly in the Premiership is not a bad thing so why move away from Sale?
WM: Any further details on Langilangi's departure from Glasgow? Still seems really weird.

TIAR: Sometimes moves overseas don't work out. There are a lot of factors other than the rugby involved. It seems that Langilangi simply missed his family and California. That's okay. He's got the talent and we're sure he'll land somewhere else.  Southern France might be a good destination or maybe New Zealand.

WM: Any rumors on other Americans getting contracts or trials?

TIAR: None that we've heard but we wouldn't be surprise to see someone pop up before the end of the year.

Paul Acutt: Why is USA rugby afraid to be aggressive with television audiences. It keeps hiding the national team behind a pay TV curtain and as things stand the world cup will probable be a ppv event again. Why have they not tried thinking outside the box and offer USA games to the CW based on splitting revenue, like the NHL did with NBC when they where in dire straits. USA rugby is doing a good job at the grass roots level, but at the top they are stuck under the illusion Americans will watch because it is a great sport. Do they not realize Rugby is entertainment and needs to be sold as such?

TIAR: If there is one thing I've learned about rugby and television over the last few years it's that it's not a straightforward business. It's complicated. Make no mistake, U.S.A. Rugby has not done a good job of handling over the last few years but TV networks hold all the power. They are not just going to take rugby and put it on TV because it's rugby. Rugby folks have to prove it brings in revenue. Let's not get into The Rugby Channel at this point. Our opinion of it has been well documented so it's best just to let it lie.

G Ha: What are the rules for foreign players in the Premiership and Guiness Pro 12? Americans need professional contracts to develop, this is the best route. But what are the limits on clubs signing foreign players? And secondly, and related, any possibility of a US based team playing in the Guiness Pro 12 or Championship division in England? They both are making inroads in the US (Pro 12 looking at a playing on East Coast, Harlequins investment, etc). Can we find investors to fund a franchise of 40 or so Americans/Canadians. We need pro contracts. The leagues are enamored with the US market.

TIAR: The rules aren't so much based on competition as they are country. The rules in the Premiership state that a certain portion of each team's game-day roster must be England-eligible. If they meet that then they are entitled to funds at the end of the year. That's why some teams that need more money play more English players than a team like Saracens. In Ireland they have rules that state only one of the four teams can field a foreign player at a certain position. For example, if Connacht used AJ MacGinty at fly-half that meant none of the other four teams could have a foreign fly-half. For teams in Wales and Scotland they are more interested in developing players for Scotland and Wales. So there aren't limits on players per se but there are limits in practice.

If there was a team of U.S. players based in the Guinness Pro 12 the eligibility rules would probably be determined by U.S.A. Rugby. It's different if they were to play in the RFU Championship or the Premiership. In that case they likely would just lose out on the money incentive provided by the RFU. Additionally, the RFU might veto the purchase of a team if they knew the plan was to staff it with American players. Further, there is no way U.S.A. Rugby could afford a team so it would have to be a rich investor willing to lose millions for the sake of the national team.

jwsfrugger: What movement is there to standardize requisites for playing college rugby [i.e. 5 year eligibility completed by a set age] and then enforce them? Similar question for combining "national championship" competitions and letting all competing schools "share in any wealth" created by broadcasting the matches?

TIAR: Simply put there isn't much of an effort. In many ways college rugby is the wild west of rugby. The top schools will continue to do their own thing in order to get the best matches possible while other teams will continue to thrive in their own sphere. It would be cool to see them all come together but rather than focusing on a national championship the more marketable thing to do would be to create an elite league of college rugby's top eight teams. That would draw in more attention that a one off final. Can you imagine a whole season of Cal vs. St. Mary's or Cal vs. Life?


  1. One of the best examples of USA Rugby's ineptitude is the failed state of collegiate rugby. An 8 team conference featuring Cal, BYU, Saint Mary's, CWU, Life, Army, Penn State, Army would make network TV take notice pronto yet we (and the players) are subject to 100 point blowouts week after week. I give Saint Mary's a lot of credit as they play the best schedule in the country with an annual fixture vs Cal as well as home and aways with BYU but there last 5 scorelines are 96-0, 96-0, 55-12, 106-15, 55-0. This is no way to prepare for BYU which is their next match.

    Until US college rugby is sorted out with a proper competition with 10-20 schools offering full varsity status with everything that comes along with that (SCHOLARSHIPS) then the US will remain a rugby backwater. We have the greatest sporting development system in the world (NCAA) and it is not being leveraged in the slightest by USA Rugby.

  2. Hey, I have one: where the HECK are Garrett Bender and Ben Pinkleman? Those two were massive for us last year on the 7s circuit. I love Duratalo, but he's much more suited for 15s. And as much as Tomasin has been great as a fill in, we need Ben and Garret to get on the pitch