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28 August 2013


Anyone who thinks 50,000 to 70,000 are going to turn up for a Premiership match is out of their mind. They don't turn up in numbers anywhere close to that in England. Why would a bunch of ex-pats here do so? We are fortunate to get 20,000 to see Tier One international sides like Ireland and Italy (even if they are weakened sides). A Premiership match held at an NFL stadium - say Foxboro or Giants stadium - might draw 20,000 at the absolute outside. That's if everyone promoted the hell out of it, which USAR has never shown an ability to do. And what you'll end up with is a 1/3 full stadium and everyone involved losing money and looking silly. Having London Irish play Saracens in New Jersey is not the way to "make Americans fall in love with rugby."

Supporters will point to the success of similar soccer matches in the US featuring top European teams, but it's apples and oranges - Man U, Barcelona etc. draw 50,000+ crowds in Europe for every one of their matches. The Premiership only gets that many for the championship and a few select games they play at Twickenham. And of course soccer is vastly more popular here to begin with.

Sources are telling me changes are happening in the USA coaching staff. Unfortunately Tolkin's dismissal is not being discussed but our attack coach is the first on the chopping block.

I say clear out the entire staff. Can be the only way Tolkin stays, and if he does, as figurehead.

Can you imagine a real board of directors accepting the kind of executive performance Kurt accurately recounts above?

Melville's decisions and execution, or lack of either, have been shocking yet no one holds him in account. I guess it is because no one really gives a hoot.

@Let's face it: Yeah, I got that email, too. Dowling and Smeeth are both gone.

If the premiership is keen on getting into the US market how about moving a franchise to the states ? or expanding ala Celtic league and add a US and Canada side?

too expensive or too much risk?

How about for guaranteeing their revenue for a few matches over here each year, each premiership side carries one US player exempt from any roster restrictions? and maybe a discount on their salary cap number?

easier to get US fans interested if their is a US player the fans can follow

Nigel's email address to youth leaders - its classic Nigel....

Subject: State Rugby Organizations


It was a pleasure to see you all again at Infinity Park a couple of weeks ago and to be given the chance to address you during what looked like a packed and exciting agenda. I know that the staff that presented to you enjoyed sharing their plans for the remainder of the year and to outline where they see their areas of specialty heading in the future.

One of the themes of my address, apart from thanking you for your passion for the game and the work you do developing youth and high school participation, was resource allocation. National Governing Bodies, large and small are in the resource allocation business, placing often limited funds where they can produce the best return for the organization. Obviously, every section of our rugby community has a good argument why they should receive more resources than others, however, we have to balance those demands and allocate as effectively as we can.

The comment I often hear is that 'USA Rugby takes our membership dues revenues and spends it on our National teams', in the past that may have been the case, however, National Teams now receive the majority (around 90%) of their funding from Grants, Sponsorship, International Events and Restricted Giving.

During the last 5 years we have continued to increase the budgets of our Rugby Development activities, Youth/High School, College, Club, Coaching and Refereeing are now all key areas of investment if we are to achieve our goal of providing all our players with both a safe environment and a positive rugby experience to further grow the appeal of the game across America we have to invest in development programs.

In the case of Youth/High School we have developed a Youth/High School department to specifically support the development of the Youth/High School game, supporting the introduction of State Based Rugby Organizations and developing resources that specifically support your work with our youth and high school players. We worked with the USA Rugby Board and specifically Board Member, Bill Middleton to develop a Youth and High School Committee populated by members of the Youth and High School community who were charged with providing direction to our Youth Director and his staff.

As a result, financial and personnel support for the youth and high school community has continued to increase and a number specific youth initiatives have been developed including the introduction of Rookie Rugby, National Development Summit, SRO Conference, Grant Program,s Referee and Coach Development, fundraising support etc..

When I spoke to your group at the weekend, I sensed that there were concerns within the group about how the Youth and High School resources were being allocated within the community. It is these concerns that I would like to discuss with you and make sure that the allocation of Youth/High School resources is as transparent as it can be. The current process is driven by the Youth/High School Director and his staff in partnership with the Youth/High School Committee. I think this is a reasonable process, however, the feedback I have received since the conference suggests otherwise.

The dissatisfaction appeared to be focused on the Grant Program, some groups feel that this is not equitably distributed and that grants have not been applied for because they were told they couldn’t use the funds in a certain way, or the funds came with certain restrictions on spending that rendered the grant useless at the local level.

A second area of discontent appears to be that the larger SRO's make the largest financial contribution and therefore feel they should receive greater funds than smaller SRO's, a counter argument could be that investing in smaller SRO's helps the whole community to become stronger that will ultimately benefit everyone – one of the very real challenges of allocating resources to grow market share.

As a result of our meeting and feedback following the meeting, I am looking closely at this area of our funding and would like you to work with me to understand how each SRO thinks that our Youth/High School resources could be allocated more effectively. To this end, I would like to schedule a call with each SRO in the next two weeks to discuss this issue and develop a report that will support the 2014 Budget process. I have asked Shannon Emery (copied) to work with Erin to set up the calls on my behalf and I look forward to discussing this important issue with you and other concerns with you.

Kind Regards,


Is it possible to "make a yearly loss"? I suppose it is sound English but would it not be better to state that the Premiership clubs have a negative income(s)?

I digress...

I would love to know where these "people" live who say they can get 50,000 to 70,000 out for a Premiership match because wherever it is they must bathe in beer and breathe in weed if they believe what they are lying about to the Brits.

Here is an article that might interest all of you that like to debate the age issue when it comes to people over the age of 23 playing college rugby in general and BYU in particular. It is a story about BYU's football team and the game against UVA this weekend. Shocker: BYU's players are old.


curious what average age of BYU Rugby team is?

A review of BYU rugby and football would reveal lots of 23-24 year old sophomores. That is how a BYU 5 year college students gets to be 27 yrs old, or even older as seniors.

But here's the prob, if you get out of HS at 18 how do you get to be a 23 year old sophomore, with only a two year mission.

BYU knows just like the player admitted that older players are a great advantage. So the age thing is beyond the two year mission. They must ask players to delay the start of college, enter as a 20-21 year old freshman, go on mission their second year for two years, returning as a 23-24 yr old sophomore. All under the banner of heaven.

@older than byu

Expected high level football players are often held back when younger, giving them an advantage later in their HS/College careers.

This would explain the age gap in your 3rd sentence.

In football, does the mission count against the red shirt year? Could you go:
1. Redshirt
2/3 Mission
4-7 Freshman-Senior

Or would it be:
1. Freshman
2. Mission/Redshirt
3. Mission
4-6. Soph-Senior

From my vantage point, the 7s Rugby thing reminds me of Major Indoor Soccer League (six players per side) versus North American Soccer League (eleven players per side) back in the day.

At one point, the North American Soccer League players union got it put in their labor agreement that players under contract to MISL teams for the winter could not play the summer on loan to NASL teams (as they had been able to previously). This caused a few bidding wars for a few players at a time when neither league really had any teams (perhaps save the New York Cosmos) who could truly afford to be in any kind of bidding war at all. Fact is, few Americans liked soccer back then and all these two leagues really accomplished was dividing those Americans into two noticeable camps at a time when any one league would have had enough trouble staying afloat, anyway.

Okay. I felt the need to point that out. I now return you to your regularly-scheduled rugby discussion.

(Herr Oeler should charge a pricey admission fee to keep riff-raff like me out)

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