Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
With 2009 just a few days away it’s a chance to wipe the slate clean and start the New Year fresh. Well, as freshly as you can if you’re one of the many people that will party a little too hard on New Year’s Eve.
Here’s our Top 10 wish list for 2009. The wishes are in no specific order.
1. The continued spread of youth and high school rugby. These are our greatest growth areas and our best shot at one day having sustainable success at the International level. To everyone out there that is putting in the hard work to make this happen… keep it up! The fruits of your labor will pay off and we can all bask in the joy of knowing we were a part of something bigger than us all. To everyone that isn’t doing anything… get off your butts. It’s not that hard to get rolling. Some balls (both literally and figuratively), cones, and flags and you’ll be on your way.
2. More than one win from the Eagles. That’s all we’ve gotten in the last two years combined. Since we’re keeping things positive, just think about the fact that the Eagles have left themselves alot of room for improvement. With an even larger slate of matches on tap for 2009, an extra win or two should be a given.
3. A successful 7’s World Cup for the Eagles. As the most successful national program, they are our best shot at making a mark on the International stage. The cards are stacked against them, but Americans love underdogs. Our 7’s squad fits the bill nicely.
4. The last year for the NA4. Hey IRB, it’s not working guys. I was hoping that 2008 would be the last year for the venture, but alas it looks like we’ll be getting another dose of it in 2009. The idea behind the program was good, but it hasn’t made any progress since it was first introduced in 2006. The money could be better spent in many other ways.
5. More coverage of rugby on ESPN. We need this… whatever the cost.
6. A better USA Rugby Super League website. They are our top domestic competition. Even if they aren’t professional, the website should signify that they are an elite level competition. The current website isn’t even close to many of the club and college websites out there. They also need more formal score reporting. Sorry, guys… I hate to take cheap shots, but the RSL is best we have right now and should be presenting themselves as such.
7. To see Kevin Roberts blog about USA Rugby instead of the All Blacks. At least once. He is our Chairman after all.
8. A plan set in motion for the creation of two separate sub-entities of USA Rugby to specifically govern over Youth/High Scool and College rugby. USA Rugby’s hands are too full. These areas of the game need specific and dedicated attention for their full developement. The State Based Organizations are a step in the right direction, but more work needs done. Of all of our wishes, this is the one that we’d like to see most. It is also the one we least expect to happen.
9. The inclusion of rugby in the 2016 Olympics. The vote takes place in October and could be monumental for rugby across the globe. Sure, it’s 7’s, but it’s perfect for the Olympics and it’s a heck of alot better than seeing roller sports, squash, golf, karate, softball, or baseball get in. The latter two sports each had their shots recently as Olympic sports and didn’t cut it. USA Rugby stands to benefit significantly if rugby is included. Not only in financial terms, but in regards to exposure and recognition as an elite sport. With Chicago as a candidate to host the 2016 Olympics, this could be very big indeed.
10. Health and safety for all rugby players across the globe.