On now to America’s main season, when the most important 15s games are played.
Bounded by the USA 7s and June’s internationals, the four-month interval seems short by comparison with leading European or Southern hemisphere nations. Is it really? Why does it matter?
In Wales, lower-level clubs kick off after the pro and semipro outfits and finish sooner. In New Zealand, regional leagues begin following Super Rugby’s debut and conclude before the provincial championships are over. US ‘community' teams too play less rugby than elite squads.
The Kiwi sides play fewer league matches than the Welsh en route to the title competition, but their top players more easily move into successive levels of representative (all-star) play. Rugby in all of the top countries is a continuum from local youth and senior teams to commercialized elites and thence to national squads.
In America, high-performance rugby has been growing apart from the local game. The privitization of elite 7s training, seen in USARFU’s contracting with the for-profit Serevi Rugby, is only the latest episode in a long-term shift away from programs managed by club-supported local unions and territories.
Loosed from an imperative to ready players for higher levels, core segments have seen fit to take scheduling into their own hands. Hence the Pacific Rugby Premiership or the fall division 2 collegiate championship. Consequently, the national calendar has been splintering.
Should America seek to play more rugby? to resume working toward a unified season? The answers depends on one’s objective.