There has been news in the past week that PRO Rugby, in connection with USA Rugby, has announced a professional league is on the way to the United States. So why is the instinctual reaction to think about how poorly things can go?
[Editor’s note: the following is the first piece from our newest contributor “rugbyfanalyst”, an open letter to the powers that be at PRO Rugby and USA Rugby. Welcome onboard!]
Okay you two, your partnership is perfect and your leverage is powerful so it’s time to use it for the betterment of the game.
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.
The announcement that professional rugby union would be arriving on North American shores has been met with a mixture of reactions, from sources near and afar. These range from the bemused condescension of established rugby powers (“oh, that’s cute. The former colonies think they can play rugby. They’ll probably call it the wrong name.”) to the existential threat that American dollars will be buying every Williams, Jones and Davies in the Welsh valleys.
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.