Monday, March 20, 2017

Q&A: Answers To Your Questions

You asked and now we answered. We got some great questions regarding the Eagles, PRO Rugby, the Toronto Wolfpack, and much more. Thanks again to everyone that submitted a question.

Cailin: The ARC is done, so what can we expect from June tests? I've only heard about the June 10th test with Ireland. Will we have two others? Which sides? Are these also RWC qualifier matches or is that something different?

TIAR: There will be four matches in total. First is the match against Ireland. The U.S. will then play a European team in Atlanta before taking on Canada twice in World Cup qualifying. The first leg of that series will be in Canada and the second will be in the U.S. on the West Coast.

Charley: Any information out there on potential international matches for Chicago in November? I believe England vs. South Africa with the USA vs. an Islander team on the Friday night before would be good draws.

TIAR: It's still a little early to tell. I do know that it seems unlikely at this point that there will be a big international in November. There is a risk over overdoing it in terms of exposure and unless the All Blacks are headed back it might be hard to argue it has the same draw. Especially with the Lions taking a lot of the international headlines this year we think the Eagles could expect a relatively straightforward November with a tour of Europe. Still, it's a little early so things could change. 

Take the jump to read more.
G Ha: How do the European clubs handle pro contracts for foreigners? Is there a cap? With the Eagles success at the ARC are there any players likely to get a pro contract?

TIAR: It varies from country to country. For example, in Ireland they have a restriction that only one of the four clubs can have a foreigner at a certain position. That means if Leinster have a capped All Black at fullback none of the other teams can have a player that can't play for Ireland. There are some exceptions and future Irish eligibility is often taken into account--as it is in other countries--but that is the general gist. In England, if teams want some bonus money at the end of the year they need to keep the number of England-eligible players on their gameday roster at a certain percentage. For clubs that struggle financially that big chunk of change is a strong incentive. For a club like Saracens it is less important.  So to answer your question it is yes and no. Visa issues (there are different types of rules for different visa) also cause problems for Americans. If a U.S. player is good enough he'll find a team but if they are roughly equal to, let's say and England-qualified player, the English player will almost certainly get the contract. 

To answer your ARC question I think that in the summer, especially if the Eagles do well against Ireland, you could see someone like Peter Malcolm, John Quill, or Will Magie get a look.

G Ha: And to follow up on the Eagles success at the ARC, where do the following players fall in the pecking order going forward? Lanilangi, Tomasin, Leuta, Iosefo, Pinkelman, Landry, and are the following overseas pros still in the mix? Brache, Ngwenya, Fry, Palamo?

TIAR: Without question there is going to be a huge logjam at certain positions. When you look at where a Langilangi Haupeakui or Ben Pinkelman fit in on the back-row it's hard to see who they are going to squeeze out. It's more open in the backs. Marcel Brache and Taku Ngwenya have the inside edge but it is going to be a battle at center with the likes of Martin Iosefo, Thretton Palamo, and others competing. From your list Steve Tomasin might have the best opportunity to break in. Scrumhalf is still relatively open. We're going to do another edition of 30 Tickets soon. 

Cailin: Please speculate about the likely members of the women's world cup team, with reasons why.

TIAR: We would love to do this but one of the things that makes speculating about the Women Eagles difficult is the lack of information. For the men's team they play over ten times a year and on top of that there are club games in Europe and the U.S. that have a decent amount of press. At least in the U.S. most of that press comes from the clubs themselves which is huge. Women's clubs, even those playing in the WPL, don't do as well in pushing out information. Couple that with seeing the Women Eagles play only a few times a year makes it nearly impossible to speculation. Jackie Finlan of The Rugby Breakdown is the best person to ask for an article as she is the go-to on women's rugby. 

Nick Henry: Given the recent developments in the PRO arena (i.e. last of coaches being let go), how likely do you think it is that PRO actually comes through on Schoninger's insistence on them having a second season? If that season happens, do you think USAR decides to renew the PRO sanctioning agreement?

It seems that if PRO continues to be the solo sanctioned domestic professional league, MLR will not be allowed to go forward (at least in its current scope). Do you expect USAR to announce their intention to scrap the current sanctioning agreement at the 180 (150?) Day mark, as stipulated in the contract revealed by Rugby Wrap Up?

TIAR: This is a complex issue that could very well be headed to court. What we think is near consensus at this point is that even if PRO came back for another year, which is very possible, it's doubtful they would have the same support they enjoyed in year one. They had a lot of people behind them last year but with the turmoil of the offseason their core base of rugby support has eroded. That's actually why we haven't reported on it much. When they let players go that pretty much sealed their fate in our opinion. Can something exist without supporters?

How it works between PRO, MLR, and U.S.A. Rugby is going to be interesting. We think there are some legitimate questions whether MLR can be what people are thinking they are going to be by next spring so it might be too early to worry about this question. 

Nick Henry: Do you think the lack of competitiveness we've seen in recent MRC match ups is indicative of what the MLR will look like if it's allowed to move forward? Do you think investment and recruitment will help level the talent pool? Do you think there will be a structure for talent acquisition and leveling (like an NFL Draft)?

TIAR: At first we could see some very lopsided scores. At this point of the teams rumored to be involved only Glendale, Austin, and Seattle look competitive. That could change as teams add players but that's how it stands right now. It will take a big investment to recruit top talent. The nature of MLR being run by the teams in what seems to be a loose collection at the moment--could always change--means that teams could bid for player's services. Our guess is that after PRO didn't work out for some players in the offseason that many players will be weary of making a big move to play for another team. At this point a draft is unlikely. 

sjsuvc1: Don't know if those could be added to the Q&A coming up, has SFGG been approached, if not why hasn't MLR done so, if so why has SFGG not joined.

TIAR: What we know is that several teams have been approached and that the final list is not yet done. That's pretty much all we can say at the moment. 

Paul Acutt: What impact do you think the rugby league Toronto Wolfpack will have on rugby Union in North America. They already have a national broadcast partner in Canada and have a interesting following in the UK. Do you think this will spur on the pro12 or have no effect at all. The Wolfpack seem to be succeeding in their ambitions better than any other pro rugby attempt in North America, and this is before they have even played a home game!

TIAR: As we wrote awhile ago we think that the Wolfpack will be able to show whether or not a trans-Atlantic team can work. In that sense they are a big experiment regardless of code or even rugby in general. In terms of impacting union I don't think it will have much impact at all. The top league in England for rugby league isn't as big as the Premiership or the Pro12 so if the U.S. or Canada were to get a team in either of those competitions it would already be at a higher level. If anything I think that the Pro12 is watching the Wolfpack to learn lessons and it won't impact their timeline.

sjsuvc1: When would we see a ARC B comp start. And also has there been any discussion about starting a womens ARC?

TIAR: I think it will be at least a decade, if not more, to have a B competition. For most teams, like Argentina, the U.S., and Canada it is already a B competition or at least an A- competition given that their professionals are still overseas for most of the tournament. It's going to take a long time to add on to it. As for a women's competition it's a great idea but the depth isn't there for one. The U.S. and Canada are easily the best teams with Argentina a distant third. It would be too much money for not enough return. 

Grant Cole: What effect (positive or negative) has the Club Strategic Committee (CSC) and its various and sundry sub-committees had on club rugby in the USA? Has it expanded on the number of clubs playing rugby? Have any divisions shrunk in size while other grew? Were any of the CSC and/or subcommittee decisions responsible for why the PRP, ARP, MRC clubs, or Seattle Saracens chose to opt out of competitions governed and controlled by these committees? 

TIAR: Oh, Grant. Always with the governance. Seriously though, such a great question. One of the things that maybe we don't take into account is how much work is down at the lower levels with clubs reaching out to other clubs. In my experience that is the bulk of how things are schedule and then when a main idea is presented it's either affirmed or tweaked. Maybe we'll need to do a Q&A with Erik Geib to answer some of these questions more accurately. 

1 comment:

  1. thanks to you all : il was very interesting. Could you do it more often?