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04 November 2011


"The program lacks tight, ready-made connections with youth teams, however. 'We're currently working on bridging the gaps between the [Rookie Rugby] and school modules and local youth teams. ... It is a critical component,' USARFU operations director Jim Synder said."

Here is an idea, when you set up the Rookie Rugby in elementary school classes, you hand out a flyer to each participant with the names, addresses, email contacts of the area youth rugby teams to take home to their parents. If the students like what they are doing they can contact the local youth team to join. The local youth team should be primed and ready for any questions for these incoming students concerning the game to recruit them further. Even better yet, obtain contact information of the parents of these students involved in the Rookie Rugby program through the schools and then inform them of the youth rugby opportunities in the area with an email and a link to the youth rugby website of that particular team. This could all be performed by the local clubs who would benefit directly from this new influx of players each year.

USA Rugby just blogged that the latest Rookie Rugby camp in Michigan included the UM Rugby Club. That's another great idea, now those kids just may aspire to play rugby at Michigan, or at least know its an option. Then again, I just googled the UM rugby website and got spammed to death. Yo, Michigan, update your dang site!!

Self correction. The website is www.soiledmeatandsand.com
Umm, Seriously?
I didn't click on that originally because I seriously thought that was going to be another spam site.
It's actually pretty well laid out. Just change the name.

USA Rugby is missing an incredible opportunity - when they place the program in a school - why not find them a sister school in another country where rugby is played?

It's not that hard - a lot of US cities have sister cites linked thru travel and commerce already set up . . .


Good thinking. Each SBRO should be working with their local youth teams to achieve exactly what you have suggested. Get the clubs to draw up brochures or information booklets for each and every child that participates in the program. Rookie Rugby markets itself as a fun, open and inclusive program available to everyone. The Youth club can build on this by marketing themselves along similar lines but with the tag of an inexpensive sporting option. A lot of parents will go for it. Imagine if the USAR were able to capture 10 or even 20% of the total participants into regular junior Rugby in this manner.

A lot of clubs dont run youth touch leagues though right? I dont know how other places work, but near me we have a township intramural sports system. It would be great to get touch rugby in there alongside soccer, tball/baseball, lacrosse, etc


A lot of people will deride USAR for missing the opportunity to create a form of continuity between the program and transferal to youth Rugby but it really needs to be an initiative shared between the SBRO's and clubs themselves. For all the USAR's faults, they have a good introductory development program here and in my opinion not only need to continue expand it but initiate some sort of national coaching accreditation program to compliment it.

Direct quote from the local youth rugby leaders in Greensboro: "we should not go into the schools because then too many kids will want to play rugby and we won't have enough coaches."


The lack of qualified coaching appears to be one of the major things currently holding the game's growth up. The USAR needs to sort this aspect out. Get an accreditation program up and running (look overseas if needed and customise it for the US) an get as many people as possible qualified to coach. Develop skills through education.

The Pleasanton Cavaliers Youth Rugby Club, u-8 through High School team, became a sister city to a city in Scottland, Blairgowrie, Scotland's youth team, in 2009.

I would never have an accreditation program, but just a coach education program. Education is a choice, accreditation tends to get politicized, tends to be box ticking nonsense. I get what you're saying though. Accreditation is usually done to limit entrants.

We need people to coach and often that means just getting up, setting time once or twice per week to work with kids and being consistent and dedicated.

One problem with rugby players and kids is that the vast majority of rugby players have just blown off practice many times, as it is normal to skip practice in our sport, unllike other sports like lax, basketball, and football where missing practice is frowned upon.

If you coach kids and blow one session off, you could set a program back 5 years.

The bottom line is the successful youth programs are run buy guys like mark griffin, Christian mayo, stu krohn, Paul keeler, the Morris county guys, the union county guys, etc. just go out and and do it.

Anyone could just get up and coach. But can they do it to an adequate enough level to assist skills development of youth players. Call it whatever you like but a program that provides the necessary training and skills for coaches and one that provides regular maintenance is needed to ensure the generation of Eagles have the same advantages as their opponents from the Tier 1 nations. That is in most cases more than a decade of development before even playing their first professional game.

It's a redundant comment of mine, but the coaching pool is seriously hurt by Division III competitions. If you are older than 30 and not a legitimate rep side player, quit playing on a regular team and give back to the game.

Further, too much emphasis is placed on the false hurdle of "qualified.". What qualification is needed to coach u10 or u12 soccer? Farm teams in little league? Likewise, what is so complicated about coaching u10 and u12 rugby that couldn't be conveyed over a couple of hour training session?

Rookie Rugby has next to no participation retention. RR is about exposing kids, which is a fair objective. However, RR has been largely oversold to the usar membership and certainly to the IRB. Nigel should enjoy his award because RR would add up to anything over the long haul.

"Sorry"... You are a complete moron. Maybe if you attended a Rookie Rugby session in your life, you'd see they are good for the sport, and they are happening all over the country. Your dislike of the administration holds no water here.


What I'm saying is there needs to be a program that provides coaching guidance in terms of skills and player development. Training materials that provide method and drills to assist coach's in structuring training to be benefit the child development in the game from handling, tackling to the more technical side of the game.

Actually just went to the Univ of Michigan's rugby website, because I didn't want to believe it...it is www.soiledmeatandsand.com.

If you click on some of the links, you'll see where the quote comes from. If it does indeed come from the first issue of the Michigan Daily, in 1890, then it's kind of a cool reference, but still...terrible name.

I agree that guidance should be provided but certification is about restriction not education. Certification should be avoided as it will be abused in the future, even if intentions are good.

I agree that if you can coach you should, it is fun and generally you can do it, even when playing if you commit to finding the time.

Rugby needs a coaches association formed and run by rugby coaches and adminstrators to share best practices and coordinate with schools, clubs, unions, and USAR on development efforts.

Coaches associations exist in almost all other US sports. A few examples:


Sorry guys - got to change the subject and hijack this a little.


Someone posted a comment regarding the $500 fee each coach has to pay when he registers and now its gone. Its very clear USA Sevens owns Rugby Mag and anything bad you may say about them is quickly struck off.

RugbyMag is the marketing arm for USA Sevens and now the new Rugby Combine. USA Sevens is the most succesful event manager in the history of rugby in the US. Is RugbyMag objective in the tradtional journalism tradition? No. Also, having coaches pay to be part of the combine is not unreasonable. The program costs money to run. Coaches will get value for their investment. If they don't get value, they won't revew. Coaches in other sports spend a lot more than $500 to get access to players.

Part of every USAR run rookie rugby training is a pre event that trains local coaches - once you are trained then you are certified to train other coaches.

The coaches are then invited to come into the schools and see/participate in leading classes to help them feel comfortable.

We are talking mostly elementary school kids so skill dev and player dev don't really come into play. It's mostly relay races and steps to touch rugby. Basically get a high energy level, maximize fun so they have a positive intro to the game and tell their parents.

The kids don't need to throw spin passes or run switches. They just need to be introduced to rugby through a trusted vehicle to take away stigma and add credibility.

The link between this intro and local clubs is sometimes bridged - sometimes not by local orgs.

Finding coaches and retention are the jobs of the local admins. The USAR youth department is like 5 people so asking them to set up your neighborhood league for you is a big ask.

Luckily I get to see how useful this insurance policy is. I will let you know when I get done with my claim.

Customer data is so important that some companies spend millions upon millions of dollars in regards to retaining and analyzing this data. Entire departments are created for this very purpose. Customer information is gold and USA rugby needs to treat Rookie Rugby participants, current players (U10 through Old Boys) as such.

Its great that on the www.usarugby.org site I can go to "Find a Club" button and look for a local youth club. The only problem is, in my state (Ohio) there isn't one currently listed under youth.... so now what do I do?

I could try to click on "Youth/HighSchool" then scroll down and click on "getting started" and go to "general inquiries" and submit a question... only to have it tell me that this function is currently unavailable. So I can then go back and go to "Local Contact Information" and go to Rugby Ohio and then I run into the same list of problems.

We need to make it easy for the potential customer. We need to create a big flipping button on the front page that says "Play Rugby" and then it takes you to a form that you can fill out where you can collect basic information (name, phone, email, age, sex, zip code state, are you a parent or potential player...etc) and then once that info is submitted to usarugby.org it should then be automatically sent to the local contact affiliated with the zip code or state that matches the person requesting info. Someone should then be in contact with that person within 24/48 hours.

It shouldn't be this hard for a parent to find a place for his/her kid to play rugby. And even if parents might go through all that BS to get some info in the sport and kids probably wont. It needs to be quick and simple. We are probably loosing hundreds of potential contacts per month.

Agree that USAR should be a much better clearinghouse of information. I doubt USAR has any good information management people on staff who can develop a strategy to leverage the website and social media.

In other news, BYU and Dartmouth have declined to attend USAR's College Sevens Championships. St. Mary's and BC may also decline. USAR should not be in the event management business.

RugbyMag's agenda to quickly publish teams not attending the rival college sevens is poor form.

RugbyMag loses more credibility everyday.

Eh. Plenty to criticize rugby mag for besides this. Do you really think they care about that tournament? Do you really think they consider it competition? One has NBC, sponsors, paid attendance at a first rate stadium, etc etc. The other has none of that. If anything they would be benefited by another successful tournament. The more popular it gets, the more viewers, the more ad money, the more money they get period.

The concern with the new USAR college sevens championship is how USAR alloactes it's very limted resources. Money lost on the tournament is money that will not go to develop the college game or the Eagles. There is already a successful college Sevens championship run by USA Sevens and USAR decides to try to creat another one. This is poor decision making and resource allocation at USAR and it will hurt the development of rugby in the US.

The Louisiana State University- University of Alabama college football game two days ago was the most-watched on CBS since 1989, the network said.

The game, which LSU won 9-6 in overtime, drew 20 million viewers, CBS Corp. (CBS) said. The network’s broadcast of the game between the University of Notre Dame and the University of Miami on Nov. 25, 1989, drew 22.4 million.

Great ratings for a regular season college game.

The Rugby World Cup Final attracted about 800,000 viewers.

good one Sevens

Don't be foolish. RugbyMag has been trying to kill the USAR college 7's even before it gets off the ground. RugbyMag has publish a dozen stories all slamming the USAR college 7's: timing, location or lack of, teams etc. Fat Clifton has published a half dozen himself. I am waiting for the RugbyMag story which explains how perfect the CRC timing is, after school is out, coming directly on the heels of XV season.

BTW, there is room for more 7's tournaments, but not room for two college 7's national championships. It is no mistake the CSI became the CRC. No mistake USAR is trying to get in on the action with their own national championship. Remember, in the attractive college space all USAR has to sell is their national championships.

TV, sponsors, fans and the teams don't like two national championships. From the team perspective, is a team really the national champion if they win the CRC? How about if you win the USAR college national 7's championship?

The real issue is USA7's and their CRC can't make money or even retain the interest of NBC with the non brand teams.

USAR on the other hand, can't possibly have a national championship excluding dues paying member teams.

So get ready for Life vs Davenport, played Friday/Saturday (for a BYU team that isn't attending). The USAR national 7's tournament looks to take place on a back field at Texas A&M, in front of a crowd of 150 or so close followers. No TV and no sponsors. The teams pay their own way.

The CRC might have a Dartmouth vs ND final with all the trimmings. When one of these teams is announced as the national 7's champion, all of us in the know will say...sure you are. You are national champions of the teams that got invited.

Wait until this hits college XV's. When teams figure out they don't have to play in the USAR national championships to have a successful post season, it will be game over for USAR. This will be good news, mostly. It will however throw open the door for investors to create their own "national championship". If they have a media arm like RugbyMag they will be able to really fight dirty with the likes of Fat Clifton and crew.

Hard to say how this shit fight will work out. It is really a fight for who is the real NGB of college rugby. Is it USAR because they have a national championship and some insurance teams don't need or is it USA7's and their Subway, Go Daddy NBC friends?

Might be like boxing with more title belts than real contenders. For sure the best college teams that are also the best brands will call their own shots around which competitions they play in and don't.

Actually, RugbyMag has been the ONLY avenue to find out information about the USA Rugby 7s Championship and its qualifying tournaments. You can't find any of that info on the USAR website. RugbyMag is doing the job that USAR should be doing for itself. All of the negative stuff they are reporting are simply facts. The USAR competition committee has used RugbyMag to let the masses know how terribly this is being handled by USAR and to get information out to teams because USAR won't do it. If it wasn't for RugbyMag, I'm pretty sure nobody would even know this tournament was happening, including some of the teams that are supposed to be participating in it. I'm fairly certain RugbyMag is not worried about the "competition" from this rival event. Notice that no teams are complaining about not being invited to participate in the USAR event, and in fact are instead declining invites to it. Meanwhile, every Life, Ark. St., and Kutztown fan on the planet is all over RugbyMag posting about what a sham it is that their teams didn't get invited to the CRC. That says it all right there.

And by the way, Utah has also pre-emptively declined an invite to the USAR 7s championship now as well. So add them to the list.

We actually talked a lot about the issues with CRC on our podcast last night. Not sure when it will be posted. We did address lack of invites to quality rugby schools. We addressed USA rugby tourney and teams not going.

I am sad if comments get pulled as that stinks. I don't get paid by them and Alex and pat have no say on who is in CRC. They were honest about it.

If listening pains you, it's towards the end since we talk about pan am games and drop an interview Alex did with Suniula in. You can just drag across to find the college discussion, my guess is 40 or so in.

So the defense of Rugby Magazine trashing the USA Rugby College Sevens, is that USA Rugby is poor communicators. Well that's a surprise, NOT.

Who is hosting the USA Rugby college sevens?

Speaking of rugbymag, they blatantly plagiarized this article (http://rugbymag.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2595:new-seeding-process-for-irb-7s&catid=83:hsbc-sevens-world-series&Itemid=266) from the IRB 7's website (http://www.irbsevens.com/destination/edition=9/news/newsid=2060470.html#pools+drawn+gold+coast+sevens)

Word for word. No credit given. Not surprisingly, my comment on the article bringing that to people's attention was not published.

MattD - Agreed.

I petitioned USAR to add a free component to the CIPP structure so that kids at camps and signup opportunities could be captured on an existing system. At the time I told them it would be the most valuable tool they could give SBRO's.

They could not look past the registration fee and wanted to charge 5.00

And I would say we have lost the potential to capture and promote THOUSANDS of kids. As soon as rugby gets accepted intot he olympics every kids parent who ever attended a rookie rugby or after school program gets an informational email.

We need to keep capturing info and saturating the public with rugby info.

I don't see RugbyMag as "trashing" the USAR 7s championship. They are reporting facts, and when the facts are that the event is horribly run, poorly publicized, has no sponsors or broadcasters, then the resulting stories about the event are going to be resoundingly negative. Seriously, and I've had this conversation with USA 7s executives, it hurts the CRC to have this USAR event so poorly done because it gives potential sponsors the idea that college rugby is a joke. So when USA 7s goes to potential sponsors, they have this debacle hanging over and painting all of college rugby in a bad light. And the sad thing is that this USAR 7s event could have been a very good event if those on the Board and those in Boulder had simply listened to the competition committee's strenuous objections to holding this event this year and instead waited until next year to do it. This would have given USAR time to get things organized properly, find the money to support the event, give teams time to budget to attend the event, give the qualifying tournaments a year to get the growing pains out of the way, etc.

I agree with College Coach. USAR tends to announce competitions, rules changes and venue announcement midstream when they should all have a next-season turnaround. They should have planned the College 7s for next year instead of rushing into a half-assed competition that is not in any college team's budget.
I disagree that there can't be two competitions. European teams have league and cup fixtures, USAR and USA Sevens could end up being a similar pairing. A Cup champion is a big accomplishment, but it is not recognized as the true National Champion. Specifically in England, winning the LV= Cup is a great accomplishment and teams would love to have the trophy in their case, but the Aviva Premiership (league) winner is the true National Champion.

I see the USAR 7s like the NCAA basketball tournament, whereas the CRC is the Maui Invitational. At least that's what it could be. Right now the CRC is like the Maui Invitational and the USAR 7s is like the New York State Section 3 Class D basketball playoffs.

Team show up for the NYS section 3 class D basketball playoffs

USA Sevens should invite all the college conference sevens champions to the CRC qualifier in Vegas in February.

Bruce you are right that Section 3 Class D Championship game last year between NY Mills and Syracuse School for the Arts and Sciences was one for the ages. They had a huge crowd in fact I'm guessing a bigger crowd than will be at the 7's finals in December.

You are so clearly a Section 5 guy. NY Mills played Lyme, not SSOTA.

What a shit show over on RM with people commenting that because their classes don't start until late September they don't have time to get really for a Dec USAR 7's championship. You could give these teams a year and they couldn't get ready.

Then some other fool complains Dec is bad for finals. Hey fool, the XV championships are not only during finals, they are during graduation.

Here is the plan. Play the college 7's championships the weekend before Thanksgiving, this year on 11-13. Play the XV championship on the first weekend of May. Too easy.

Tell Boulder and the lame ass committee coming up with these dates that this will work for the majority of the teams.

It’s not a bad way to stay in touch with the burgeoning comic scene. One of the Retreat’s goals, says Lisa Leingang, SVP, Original Programming & Development for Comedy Central, is to keep tabs on “the ever-changing world of NY comedy, by simply presenting the community with an opportunity to get on stage.”

plan A - Dartmouth played/won the CRC last year during the week of finals... They were taking final exams at the hotel. This is all Politics

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