Overseas age-grade players are attracted by opportunities to study while competing, more evidence the school environment is an asset for American rugby.
In an interview with Rugby Magazine, Italian Under-20 center Sebastian Rodwell implicitly dismissed European academies, which are essentially baseball-style minor league teams, as limiting.
'The structures in Italy don’t combine sports with studying. That’s what America is really good at', Rodwell said.
From a career perspective, the obvious problem with academies is athletes have little to fall back on, should they become injured or once their playing career is over.
The World Cup is facing another media boycott, due to cumbersome restrictions on match footage.
The International Rugby Board wants accredited publishers to deploy geographical blocking software that stops overseas users from viewing video clips, and also to remove clips from their web sites after 48 hours. Such rules aren't likely to help the tournament reach new American viewers.
Four years ago, Reuters, the Associated Press, Agence France-Press, and Getty staged a boycott over attempts to limit the number of pictures photographers could take.
Separately, the IRB has circulated a memo identifying two 'trends' in rucking which it means to squelch before the World Cup. In sum:
- 'Players are clearing out ahead of the ball and then intentionally holding the cleared out player preventing him from defending'.
- 'Player[s are] being grabbed around the neck/head region and [their] neck[s]/head[s] being twisted as part of the clearout'....
Although it has acknowledged the scrum engagement sequence is not working, the governing body has said it will not change the cumbersome 4-step process until after the world championship.
Canada has set up a giving program that accepts 'frequent flier' miles, to be pooled for use by its Under 20 program.