Friday I noted that America's best domestic players aren't all in the Super League, using the Australian and Hong Kong 7s roster as a data point as well as a literary transition to identifying the squad release that day.
Some pettifoggers fastened on 7s as irrelevant to identifying the source of international players. It's easy to bring more evidence to bear. In 2009's 5 tests, just less than half of all 15s caps awarded to domestic players -- 28 of 59 -- were from non-RSL clubs.
Moreover, 15s coach Eddie O'Sullivan was quoted at USA 7s as saying that 'there would probably be 9 or 10 [Eagle 7s players] in the  15s pool.' In February, only 2 of the 10 domestic-based 7s players were from RSL squads.
Yet when it comes to the topic of 'development pathways,' the heart of the matter is not RSL's role. It is that over the past four years, senior representative competition has almost completely collapsed.
Despite a wealth of IRB funding, the Roberts-Melville administration has canned the National All-Star Championship (ne Inter-Territorial Tournament). Simultaneously, it allowed the North American 4, feeble though it was, to be reduced to a pair of warmup matches for domestic-based Eagles, even as Canada fielded four teams in the same Americas Rugby Championship.
The purpose of representative rugby is to identify new elite players. Though it is a craft, not a science, we know that fewer opportunities for players equals lower yield for the senior team. In North America, we also know that players will finance their own way for the chance to compete, as the essentially player-funded ITTs demonstrated for years and years, and as Canadian athletes proved this last fall.
Thus, all USARFU really has to do is administer the competition. Yet not only are there no games, but there is nothing substantive in the so-called high-performance section of the union's strategic plan. (Note, however, that some territories are rekindling senior all-star activity of their own initiative. Like RSL but unlike Boulder, they understand that job one is to provide competition for members.)
Which brings us to a final point. Under the disingenuous if not dishonest title of 'USA Rugby Enhances its Operations of the Rugby Super League in 2010', on Friday Boulder put out a release release taking credit for Eagle coaches attending RSL matches, as if scouting is somehow a favor to the competitors, and for providing match officials, who are and have been paid directly by RSL teams for many years. Sordid.
What USARFU could provide is money to pay for its request to bring the RSL final forward to Memorial Day Weekend. O'Sullivan pitched the idea (no later than) in December; in response the league said sure, if you make us whole for traveling on a holiday with less than seven days' notice. Either the money is there or it isn't. It's now mid March.