Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
by Ted Hardy
With the holiday upon us, I wanted to take this time to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Holiday season. After almost five years writing here at Rugby America, I have met and made acquaintance with so very many great and passionate rugby people from all around the world. That would not have been possible were it not for the sport of rugby and the family and sense of community that it embeds in all of us.
There are so many wonderful things to be excited about in American rugby it seems as if Christmas came early for many of us.
The growing youth segment is the gift that will keep on giving. We’re not more than another 5-10 years from seeing the fruits of grassroots rugby really paying dividends at higher levels. We’re already seeing it as more and more players are moving on into high school and college rugby with prior experience. The quantity and quality of rugby players in America is on the rise. That much is evident in the on the field improvement in both high school and college rugby. The game doesn’t even resemble the quality of rugby being played ten years ago. There’s no reason to not believe that in the next ten years we will see even further gains.
The breaking news about the possible North American pro 15’s competition was an early present for everyone. A ten team competition with teams from the United States and Canada is the type of setup that fans have been dreaming and talking about for years. Rumors have been swirling for years, but this was the first public confirmation of the competition and first details to leak. It remains to be seen whether it ends up as a lump of coal or the best present ever. Regardless, it is always fun to discuss about the prospects.
On a more immediate note, the launch of the 7’s academies was another early treat for the American rugby community. Rumored to be in the works for some time, the launch of the academies is a possible game changer in regards to player identification and development. The development goes to show how serious the hunt for the 2016 Olympics has become. Team USA has a long way to go as they currently sit in 12th place on the World Series standings. Qualification for the 2016 Olympics is an absolute must for the USA and should be the primary goal. The sights should be set even higher with legitimate medal aspirations in 2020.
That all said, it is time to spend some well-earned holiday time with my family.
I wish you and your families the very best wishes this holiday season. As always, I thank you for visiting Rugby America.