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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Q&A: Answers To Your Questions

We're tardy on getting back to you to answer your questions. Hopefully it's not too late.

Paul Acutt: Does MLR intend to have corporate investment or any capital investment or selling of franchises to investors. In other words how are they planning on funding this in the long term?

TIAR: That is the long-term play. Each team will be privately owned and nearly all of the owners have deep pockets but not unlimited pockets. With less than a year out that have to be some concerns over Major League Rugby. We've reached out to several people to answer questions but every time they put it off. The latest we heard was that they were working on hiring a PR team. 

The concern is that outside of Houston, Austin, Rugby Utah, and Glendale there hasn't been much movement. New Orleans and the Griffins have hired coaches but not much more than that. There is concern over the Griffins as we've heard from multiple sources that they might not have the funding. Kansas City has only announced their name while we haven't heard anything from Seattle and Minneapolis. They still have time to put it all together but the lack of information has to be a concern. In the end the league may be smaller than we think but still a professional competition.

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Unknown: Niku Kruger seems to have disappeared since the 2016 ARC. Any idea what he's doing?

TIAR: He had a major knee injury and it's been a struggle to get back in the groove of things since. Without a professional option he's been working on his career. There is still a chance he makes a comeback.

Cailin: How is Zach Test doing? Will he be back?

TIAR: That's a great question and one we don't know for sure. It was a nasty injury he had and he's going to be out awhile.

Cailin: What about James Bird? (Old Blue) I know he was injured - is he back?

TIAR: Bird was injured but he's healthy now and playing for Old Blue. The unfortunate thing for him is that during his absence the Eagles decided to go with Ben Cima and Will Magie to back up AJ MacGinty. With a new coach coming in Bird may get a chance.

Cailin: Coverage (in Ireland) of the USA v IRL game seemed to suggest that they really want to establish a Pro12 franchise here. Yes, old news. BUT with the new stadium for DC United going up in Washington, owned by Will Chang (do I have that right?) , and other amenities available there, if there was an East Coast franchise, what are the odds of it being in DC. Be gentle!

TIAR: Well, if we had gotten to this Q&A earlier we would have said that D.C. seems like the best location in all honesty. It has a good rugby culture, a stadium that would work well, direct flights to Europe, and the potential backing of some good people. Nothing has been confirmed and the Pro12 could be doing too much with the addition of two Super Rugby teams.

2up1togo: More of a comment than a question but something I think will be helpful in explaining the shellacking the Eagles receive every time they play a Tier 1 nation. Whilst # of caps provides a bit of information in terms of how long a player is in the tooth it would be far more telling to identify the age in which each player first started playing organized rugby. That number (call it Rugby IQ) would be close to 15 or 16 for the American born players we just watched and 5 or 6 for their Irish counterparts and it always shows on the scoreboard. Until this 10 year gap is shortened or matched USA Rugby will simply be shovelling sh*t against the tide. I don't care how good our athletes are, how well they are coached, or how much professional experience we can get them (or they can get for themselves around the world) - we have a Rugby IQ deficit that needs to be clearly identified and addressed.

Watching hard working players that are 2 steps and 3 thoughts behind their International professional counterparts is downright embarrassing.

TIAR: It all starts with the youth. This is not something new.

Adam Muszynski: I'd be curious to see the actual year over year numbers for youth, high school and college rugby over the last 3-5 years. We talk about how fast its growing but would like to see actual registration numbers for age groups. Also, if available, which parts of the country are growing fastest.

TIAR: We'll work on that.

sjsuvc1: Question that I know gets asked a bit, but is too much rugby to much. Most likely we are looking at with in a 1-3 year span the start of MLR, Super 7s, and most likely a pro12 team. Also mix in the fact that if things continue to go right for the wolfpack there is talks of a Rugby League team also starting in the USA, with talks of a USA based Super rugby team down the road. Not just the rugby community but can the USA sports fan base support all those competitions coming down the pipe line.

And 2nd question, if there had to be a choice for USAR and we the fans to chose to support only a few of the coming attractions, which do you think will survive and which will fade away.

TIAR: All of those competitions have to start first. Right now we have no professional competition. It should be said that it looks like MLR and Super 7s may not have a ton of overlap so they can both work. Let's wait to see what happens. Having options is never a bad thing.

Grant Cole: Does David Sternberg really exist? Or is RIM paying $360,000 a year to a bank account in the name of that person so they can sit on their hands and do bumpkiss to market the USA home test matches? Just curious...

TIAR: They are definitely paying for nothing. We've talked about RIM before but it's worth talking again. The product is actually really good but the delivery is not. They haven't seemed to find exactly what they want to do. They have the Pro12 and a few odds and ends but it's doubtful they would have as many subscribers as they do without putting Eagles matches behind the paywall. It's important to note that it was originally intended to supplement the Eagles coverage not be the exclusive home but that has obviously gone out the window. We like Dallen Stanford's show but they could extend to be something other than a highlight opportunity for their shows. It's so frustrating to see a good idea go bad. 

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