PRO Rugby has started trickling out information about their search for players and to be completely frank, it has left many of us scratching our heads. That may not be the universal experience, but it seems to be common enough.
Ed Fletcher is a gawd.
According to his amazing Twitter (@NewsFletch) bio, “Ed Fletcher is a Sacramento Bee reporter, who happens to dabble in film, comedy and changing the world.”
And man, oh man, did he ever. His recap of the PRO Rugby announcement of Sacramento, California as the first venue for the nascent league contains some of the best things we’ve ever seen. Thanks to the intrepid reporting of Fletch, those of us who were unable to attend (or watch) now have it as a matter of public record.
We would recommend reading the whole article for the full effect, but it starts out by recapping the basics of what PRO Rugby is, and the selection of Bonney Field as the location of the first team. He then provides some context about the strength of the local rugby scene:
Within the rugby community, Sacramento is considered a hotbed of interest. The Northern California Youth Rugby Association is one of the largest in the United States, with 200 teams and 5,300 players from under-8 through high school. Adult clubs have 2,000 players, according to league officials. Jesuit High School’s team is considered one of the best in the nation and regularly produces some of the nation’s best prospects.
World Rugby, the unimaginatively named governing body for world rugby (formerly known as the International Rugby Board), this week announced governance reforms, along with changes to the qualification process for the Rugby World Cup. While much of the attention has been paid to qualifications, the governance reforms deserve greater attention. Governance is not the most interesting topic in the world for many, but to have a well-functioning and respected organization, it is critical. One only look at the mess that is FIFA for textbook examples on how not to govern.
ProRugbyScrum.com aims to be a home for in-depth coverage of professional rugby in North America. We are looking to spend time digging deeper into PRO Rugby and how it’s going to fit into the larger North American Eco-system, from the local club scenes to the U.S. Eagles and Canadian national teams. How will it relate to the new Americas Six Nations? Or the national sevens teams? Will regional representative competitions like the Canadian Rugby Championship be affected? There are lots of stories to be unraveled, with different angles, from a financial and business-side perspective to player development. This site will give space for these stories to breathe, with no real word limits. Sometimes there is a lot to unpack.
While other places will break stories, we aim to break them down.
Starting ProRugbyScrum.com is a leap of faith. We have no idea whether this is going to work or not. In many ways, it’s going to parallel whatever happens with PRO Rugby as a league. While we are sure there will be some press coverage of PRO Rugby, as the past couple days have confirmed, the level of coverage can sometimes be found lacking. Our mission is to break down the stories. To give them life in ways they might not otherwise. We’re also going to try and have a bit of fun too. Rugby is a social game as much as it is a battle. As things move forward, we don’t know what is going to happen. It’s terrifying.
When in doubt, you just have to trust in the motivational words of Saint Scott Quinnell of the Church of Hard Knocks, our blessed patron saint. We’re going to breathe fire like dragons.
It started with a trickle. Drip. Drip. A mysterious Facebook page appears sometime around November 2, 2015. A cryptic message. Some group calling themselves PRO Rugby said they were the first professional rugby union league in North America sanctioned by USA Rugby and World Rugby. Murmurs on Reddit about what this means.
It was there, from nothing. And then nothing. No news for a week. Just to keep waiting on an announcement to come.
Then it came. A press release on the morning of November 9, 2015. Lift off.