Friday, June 29, 2018

Q&A: Answers To Your Questions

After a longer delay than we planned here are the answers to your recent questions. We appreciate everyone that sent in their questions!

Question: What's the update on the sport of rugby league in the USA? The NZ v. England match is in Denver June 23.

TIAR: Rugby League continues to be a minor sport in comparison to Union. Unlike the rest of the world, but especially in Australia, there isn't really a divide between Union and League in the United States. Most of the people that get stir up trouble between the two are from Australia! Essentially League is only played in the summer and an alternative to the Union season throughout the year.  Players either choose to rest, play 7s, or play League (on the East Coast) in the summer. Maybe it will grow but only as Union grows.

Question: USA 2015 World Cup players. Where are they now?

TIAR: Most of them are still around. A few have retired like Chris Wyles. One of the big things to remember is that before MLR players had to sacrifice a lot to play for the Eagles. They often put families and careers on the side. Its hard to have a career when you are asking to take at least two full months off each year. Now with MLR players can have longer careers.

Take the jump to read more.

Question: Besides Vancouver/Toronto/NYC/Washington D.C., where are the most likely additional MLR franchise locations for 2019/2020? Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Atlanta, San Francisco, Charlotte, Hawaii?

TIAR: Without saying too much look at the already announced New York team plus major (and we mean major) metropolitan regions in California and Canada. The question for MLR is whether they are growing too fast. They can grow because a majority of their players are local (there are of course a good chunk that move) but the question is whether the quality will stay the same.

Question: What's the update on rugby as an NCAA sport?

TIAR: There is no update. Sorry.

Question: What is the largest USA city by population without any rugby at any level?

TIAR: Nome, Alaska?

Question: Why aren't there any Player Ratings anymore?

TIAR: It's a matter of resources. I'm not some guy in a basement (although some would like to think that). I have a family. I even have another kid on the way! When things were simpler in life I was able to spend more time on rugby because there wasn't as much pressure to bring in money. TIAR functions mostly thanks to readers and your support. We are very grateful for that! At the same time I switched to become a teacher a few years ago and a combination of the demands of teaching (I'm even teaching summer school) and a growing family it just means I don't have as much time as I used to. 

I'm actively brainstorming ways to change that and have the site become more active again. We have some very great sponsors but are always looking for more. We're grateful for those that contributed to our drive several months back. We are also always looking for qualified and motivated writers.  In the end that's a long answer to a question of player ratings but that's the explanation.

Troy Cites: Seriously though, what is the realistic contribution of the MLR to how well the Eagles are performing this summer Test Series?

TIAR: It's been fantastic! It's not just about the conditioning, which has certainly improved, but it's about learning to make decisions in pressure situations. That's what playing against high-level players is all about. Now, for the most part, when it comes to crunch time players know what to do. I know that people don't want to give PRO Rugby credit because of what happened off the field. That said, on the field they did a lot to improve the level of play in the United States. A lot of players that are taking off in MLR first found their legs in PRO Rugby. You can thank Steve Lewis for that.

Ben Wheeler: Why is it okay to score by touching the front of the goal post pad if it's impossible to defend from the goal line?

TIAR: Because the gold post pad is in the line. It does give the offensive team an advantage but not many folks would object to more tries!

Jackson Calhoun: I enjoy watching rugby. I prefer the Rugby-7 version though. How can we view more Rugby-7s?

TIAR: NBC just announced their broadcast plans for the 7s World Cup. 7s is interesting because it can be good for broadcast purposes but if you look at the numbers the biggest TV audiences in the U.S. have been for 15s. Just in terms of our own internal statistics 15s reports and news always do better than 7s with a few exceptions.

James Saddler: What is the average attendance for the MLR teams?

TIAR: It's hard to pin down exact numbers. Obviously some teams are only doing 1500-2000. We'd say that is the average but that is in no way official and just our speculation. It is clear that Seattle is doing very well. They legitimately sell out Starfire with about 4,000 fans.

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