Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
Ranger Up military and patriotic apparel today announced the launch of their newest brand, American Sin Bin rugby apparel with one express purpose in mind: bring a world championship back to the United States. “That might sound like a lofty goal, but we know we can do it,” says Ranger Up CEO Nick Palmisciano.”
Ask the average American about rugby and you’ll get a stone-faced look, but the USA actually has a rich history in the sport. The United States rugby team dominated the sport in the 1920’s, winning Olympic gold medals in both the 1920 and 1924 games.
But soon after the game of American football, with forward passes and blocking that were disallowed in rugby, grew in popularity and rugby in the Americas faded. Ranger Up thinks it’s time to recapture the international glory that has escaped America for almost a century.
“We have the best athletes in the world,” says Palmisciano. “But it’s going to take more than that to be a tier 1 power in international rugby. It’s going to take education, awareness, tournaments, better youth programs, and higher wages so we can attract the best athletes and set the conditions for them train full time together. There’s no reason why we can’t be the best rugby nation on the planet.”
When you look at the numbers, he may be right. The total population of Fiji and Tonga is 281,000 people. That’s 100,000 less than the total number of NCAA student athletes in America, yet both of those tiny island nations have more powerful rugby teams than the United States, a country of over 330 million people. Even the best rugby team in the world, the New Zealand All Blacks, hails from a country with a population less than half that of New York City.
But awakening that giant is a bold mission beset by many obstacles, not the least of which being interest among fans, especially when there is no television broadcast deal with any rugby leagues in the US. Persuading people to watch a sport that most Americans know little about is a tough sell, especially when it’s close cousin, American football is the most popular sport in The States. But that just might be Ranger Up’s ace in the hole.
“Rugby is not football. They’re two separate games,” says Palmisciano. “But they’re similar enough that if the average football fan knew what was going on, he would find it entertaining and want to watch more. Furthermore, every year thousands of amazing athletes don’t go to the NFL, but still want to compete. Enter rugby. There are obstacles, sure, and many of our fellow ruggers told us it would be impossible. But we’re going to do it anyway.”
So how does the Ranger Up military culture fit with rugby? Rugby players are fiercely loyal to their teams, their communities, and their sport, an attitude Ranger Up knows a lot about as a veteran-owned and operated company. If anyone can appeal to the rugby community, they can.
“Rugby is all about camaraderie, sacrifice, and the warrior spirit – things we know all about. Rugby players sacrifice their bodies for the good of the team, which is the same attitude we all experienced in the military. USA Rugby is ready to explode onto the mainstream American sports scene. We want to be the catalyst that makes it happen. We’re going to win the World Cup. Just watch.”
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