Rugby America

Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective

Grassroots or Bust

By Ted Hardy,

This is my first article since April and it is watershed moment of sorts. For one, I’m actually writing something. That is a pretty big deal in of itself. For those that don’t know, my family relocated towards the end of the spring. Now that life is beginning to settle down a bit it is time to get back to writing. I had hoped to be back writing by September, so I’m a couple months late.

While we’re settling in fine, work is hectic as ever and keeps me away from my computer most days. I had been trying to avoid it, but I finally broke down and I’m writing this from my phone. We’ll see how that goes.

Enough about my crap though. You’re not here for that. You want to talk about some rugby.

I finally got to watch the replay of the Eagles vs. Russia. Really great stuff for 60 minutes. The Eagles played very well and there was some enterprising rugby being played. Also thought that the Eagles kicking game was better than I have seen in years. The last 20 made the scoreline more flattering for the Russians, because the game wasn’t that close. I was really hoping the Eagles would put in a full 80 as the last quarter of a game has been the squad’s achilles for years. The Eagles will need a full effort against a very solid Tongan side that narrowly lost to Italy.

The ARC seems to be a sensitive subject for many. A winless campaign is never going to draw rave reviews. Especially when the team only managed 14 points in three games. I absolutely believe there is value in getting international experience for players on the national team radar. I like the idea of the ARC, but I would rather see it played with the full national sides instead of the A-sides. North America needs a competition. With Argentina hanging out with the SANZAR crowd, we could have the USA, Canada, Uruguay, and Chile. As for getting our budding Eagles game time, Canada is right next door.

The Eagles 7’s got off to a rough start on the IRB series. The team looks better than last year, but so does the rest of the competition. The 7’s circuit is tough… plain and simple. Now a days they’re all fast, strong, and well drilled. Dubai is just a couple weeks away and with it a chance to bounce back.

The Women 7’s squad got off to an impressive start to the season as they ran the table in China. They now prepare for the opening event of the IRB Women’s World Series. The women are in a tough pool with Australia and the Netherlands.

Now that I have done a bit of a international report, let’s shift gears a bit. Over the years I have mulled over the direction I want for this site. I get restless pretty easily. One such angle is covering just grassroots efforts as I firmly believe that is the most sustainable way forward for American rugby. To that end, in the coming future I’m going to try to focus more of my efforts on grassroots rugby and growing the game.

That said, I still plan to cover the Eagles, other USA Rugby stuff as well as college rugby. Just not a ton of it. I would just like to spend more time on the ground level of American rugby… youth, high school, and club rugby.

Well, that about covers it for now. By the way, this article took forever to type on my phone. My texting finger is starting to cramp.

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7 comments on “Grassroots or Bust

  1. Grant
    November 13, 2012

    Welcome back, Ted! Be glad to trade College and Youth blurbs with you!

  2. TOL
    November 13, 2012

    Frankly, I think that that Rugby in the US will not develop until we all start focusing on youth and high school rugby. If we grow it from the local level, we will eventually have the pool of talent that the Eagles will need to be successful. We’ve been trying for the 10 years that I have been following the game in this country to work from the top down and it’s not getting us far, IMHO. So, I welcome your focus on the grassroots!

  3. Buzz McClain
    November 13, 2012

    Ted, I’m envious you have the time to write again, even on the phone. One of these days RugbyBuzz.com will be alive and kicking, but like you I moved and started a new job this summer, and the dust has yet to settle. So do it for me, OK?

  4. Jason Gatties
    November 14, 2012

    Seems like everyone is getting that “itch” again. I finally got NoLongerMinnows.com back up this week as well. Welcome back, I always loved this blog!

  5. RugbyAmerica
    November 15, 2012

    Grant, thanks!

    TOL, amen my friend. I’m all for success at the top, but if we’re going to have long term success for rugby in America it will come with a rugby program in every town.

    Buzz, sure thing!

    Jason, thanks… I think it is the winter. Glad to hear you’re back at it.

  6. Ray Schwartz
    November 16, 2012

    “I would just like to spend more time on the ground level of American rugby… youth, high school,…” You need to get to Sacramento Jan 25-27 for the 29th Annual Kick Off Tournament (KOT), the largest youth and high school tournament held in the Western Hemisphere. 205 matches were played last year, the overall event is extremely well run, and offers a large referee development component with it. Ed Todd, the USA Rugby Referee Development Officer has called the KOT the “best referee development vehicle” in America.

  7. Gregory Parkes-skelly
    November 18, 2012

    Ted,

    Great to see you back. It’s been too long. Glad you’re able to find the time.

    Grassroots is something that are an absolute must to succeed but so are potential pro/semi-pro opportunities to help elevate the elite players to compete against others. I like yourself am a fan of the concept of the ARC and believe it should cease being a A championship and become a fully integrated, home and away annual championship between the Eagles, Canada, Uruguay and Chile. In time dd Brazil to that list.

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