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Just another personal weblog.

An Old New Vision For USA #Rugby

Back in 2005/06, those in charge of USA Rugby sent out an email to all its members, talking about how they got some sports guru-types to come in and help make some future plans, and wanted the opinions and ideas from the US ruggers, refs, etc.

I’m not going to c&p the whole thing, just the interesting bit, so, here were my responses:

Have you any additional views and visions for the game in the U.S.?
i) The LAU’s should be broken down into a League structure, rather than Conferences – i.e. all of the teams from a Division are in the same league.
ii) This new League structure would require a re-structuring of the Domestic Season with the relegation/promotion of teams at the end of each.
iii) A knock-out domestic Cup competition, running in parallel with the Domestic Season.
iv) Set up a tiered professional system akin to the Major and Minor Leagues in baseball or the AFL/af2 in Arena football.
v) The LAU’s play a Six Nations-style competition at the mid-point of each domestic season.

I have a few pages of  notes on what I think would be a good restructuring of rugby in the US that I’ll be sure to put into a blog entry sometime soon.

What are the short term priorities which USA Rugby should focus on (in the next four years)?
i) Getting the infrastructure at the “grass roots” level right.
ii) Ensuring that the targets imposed upon us by accepting the IRB’s funding of High Performance etc., are reached, if not surpassed, in order to secure future IRB funding.

ii) is probably irrelevant, by now!

What long-term priorities should USA Rugby focus on (next 10 years)?
i) Having more US players play with teams overseas.
ii) Having more non-US players playing with the domestic clubs.
iii) Regularly hosting tours by sides from Tier I Unions.
iv) Regular tours, by the International sides, of Tier I Unions.
v) Consistently obtaining qualification for the Rugby World Cup.

A good balance of i) & ii). I would add to v) “…[for], and progression to the knock-out stages of, [the]…

What are the key factors which will assist USA Rugby to achieve its goals?
i) Focus on the goals and the fact that the changes and improvements will be gradual processes.
ii) Communication between the different aspects and levels of the game, within the United States.
iii) Measurable progress towards the goals.

Nothing earth-shattering…

What are the key issues which USA Rugby needs to address if it is to be successful?
i) Clubs need to become more professional.
This will not go down well with a lot of players, as they play purely for recreation, but it needs to happen for the game to progress here in the United States. The more recreational player should always find a place to play in the “B” side, or Clubs might set up specifically recreational sides.
ii) Those involved at the lower levels need to feel that the “Powers That Be” are listening to them and, ultimately, have their interests in mind when making any plans and decisions about the game here in the United States.
iii) The lack of qualified Coaches and Refereeing Staff.

I’m afraid i) is a bit of bugbear of mine, especially when it comes to “my” club.

What is your vision for the game in your own area?
A single organization within the Dayton-Cincinnati-Columbus triangle, with its own stadium, training facilities, etc.

This is interesting, especially considering my previous blog entry around this subject!

What are the short term priorities for the game to develop in your area?
i) Recruitment.
ii) Sponsorhip.
iii) Qualified Coaching and Administrative Staff.

Same old…!

What are the key factors which will assist the game to grow in your area?
i) As mentioned before, the results need to be visible.
ii) Also, as mentioned before, the “Powers That Be” need to show they are listening to the “Little Man”.
Continued exasperation with either of these factors will lead to people leaving the game and not returning or recommending it to others.

Again, same old.

So, those were my ideas and thoughts back then, and not a whole lot has changed, in my mind.


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