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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Pro14 Boss Discusses American Expansion


The head of the Guinness Pro14 simultaneously reignited and poured cold water on rumors of potential expansion to the United States. In speaking with the press head of the launch of this season's Pro14 Martin Anayi said that the competition would continue to explore options overseas, including the United States, but said that there are a number of factors that must be met in order to make it happen. He pointed to player welfare, being in aligning time zones, and a workable format as obstacles to making it happen. That makes sense in several ways. Because the Pro14 just added two teams in South Africa it's going to mean a lot more travel for the players. If you thrown in additional trips to the United States that means teams in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, who are only accustomed to making the jaunt to Italy would have to make at least two trans-continental trips a season.

Additionally, Anayi pointed to the standard of rugby in the United States saying that any team would have to have a lot of international players before American players are brought along slowly. He also noted that it would require cooperation from U.S.A. Rugby and World Rugby as well as U.S.A. Rugby settling their business with PRO Rugby owner Doug Schoninger. All in all it's not impossible and it seems there is interest from the Pro14 but that there are a lot of things to overcome first.


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