Rugby in North America has taken yet another leap forward in development and a small step to a future professional league on the continent.
Both USA Rugby and Rugby Canada have either established or are soon to establish the vital development and feeder levels for a future professional league or leagues.
Rugby Canada established the RC U20’s (Rugby Canada U20’s) Championship this year replacing the disbanded Canada Rugby Super League. The league, in its first season, consists of 13 teams covering the entire length of the country.
Next year three new teams will enter bringing the League to a 16 team championship. This league will not only improve the quality of the Canadian Under 20’s squad and the national team, but also build the appropriate depth for future franchises in Canada.
In the United States, USA Rugby have planned a College Super League consisting of between 8 -16 programs. To enter this league the colleges must have a professional program to develop the required talent for the future.
Cal, Brigham Young and Life Universities will be certain starters with Army, Navy and Penn State other possibilities. This league will be accompanied by the Ivy League Championship which will starts its inaugural season next year too.
Both these leagues will give High School rugby player’s options when they leave school and in the cases of the College Super League, is the first step toward establishing Nationwide conference’s similar to the current NCAA format.
North American Rugby moving toward a professional future isn’t far flung speculation. In a prospectus released by the USA Rugby in 2006, this objective was earmarked in a 5–10 year period from publication.
These leagues are just another step in the right direction and further addition to the necessary infrastructure required to do so.
P.S. In the wee small hours of Sunday morning the Eagles will face off against Canada in the second leg of RWC qualifying.
For Canada the equation is simple beat the Eagles by more than 6 points. Anything less will see them have to play Uruguay in the second round of qualifying.
Unlike last week this game won’t be broadcast at all.
Rugby Canada really dropped the ball with this one. But maybe it may be a good thing. If the Eagles produce the Rugby they did last week, it will be a certain uphill battle for the Canadians.
On the US front Rugby USA are trying to get their fall schedule games broadcast on ESPN. Should be interesting to see if it happens. The games against Russia should bring a lot of interest and the game against Fiji should be very entertaining.