Talking Rugby (Vol 1, Iss. 6): Vacation Time, NRFL, and Other Notes

The rugby world, both American and abroad, always brings up some interesting storys, so I’m going to run through some of the big ones this morning.

To Friday or Not to Friday?

The big news in the American rugby world is who is going to head up the USA 7s team. It appears as if Mike Friday is going to be the next Head Coach of the team, but it isn’t going to be easy;  the contract still needs to be ironed out and with Chris Brown named this week as the Assistant Coach, following his previous work with Friday, it looks like we are about to get at the very least, some sort of coach by proxy situation in the USA Men’s 7s program.

Friday has also been named recently as the Director of Rugby for London Scottish, so its up for debate if he’s in a position to take on this responsibility as well. He comes with a 7s coaching pedigree, but will this split responsibility be whats best for the team, and would they be better served with a coach that can dedicate all of his time to the team?

Team USA is entering a decisive period of their history and I really don’t see how having a Head Coach working remotely is the best option here. I’m a huge fan of Friday and it was disappointing that USA Rugby missed out on bringing him onboard last year, but I’m not a fan of having a coach with potentially conflicting responsibilities, particularly at a time when rugby in the USA is in need of a shot in the arm to revitalise it.

To find a positive angle on this, it may mean that Alex Magelby will have a larger role in the program when Friday is away and the combination of Magelby, Brown, and Friday might work out well; it could also be too many cooks in the kitchen and backfire horribly. This method may have had a space this time last year, but I’m severly worried about doing it prior to Olympic Qualification season.

Women’s World Cup

If you didn’t know already, the Women’s World Cup is just around the corner. The team recently took part in a warm-up tour to England, where they defeated the Welsh side 10-7 and narrowly lost to England 17-13. Their World Cup campaign begins at the begining of August and they’re in a tough pool. They’re up against against reigning champions New Zealand as well as a formidable Irish side and Kazakhstan.

The team has recently fought through severe budget cuts and they kept on fighting, so I would urge you not to forget about them come August.

NRFL Stuff

I’ve been inundated with requests for  news on the state of the NRFL. An article is in the works, but there isn’t much concrete, verifiable as of now. I’m not one for 200-300 word article blurbs, so what is there will need fleshing out at the very least. I will also look to talk with the NRFL people at some point to get more details on what has been discussed already.

There are a few notable takeaways in the pipeline already however.

Following the success of the first combine, they’re looking to capitalise on its success with another one. From what I have heard, there will be an aim of have a much larger representation of pure rugby experience amongst the competitors this time around.

If you have done the math, it is also a pretty good bet that there will not be an Independence Cup this year, but not for the reason you might think. This story could easily have run as is, but this is the area that I want to elaborate on more. Last year, the Independence Cup was called off due to a disappointing mixture of poor timing, organization, and lack of resources. While the timing also wasn’t perfect this year, it was possible. Appropriate funding was in place, but the situation of US Rugby now raises the question as to whether the Independence Cup is even needed at this point. Let me elaborate.

The event was planned to prove the concept to investors which did not even exist at this time last year. Whilst names cannot be mentioned at this time, investors are interested already and discussions are already ongoing, as the previous combine was enough to pique the interest of some potential suitors. In this instance, why waste the money on hosting such a large competition when a combine can boast such good results at a fraction of the price.

NRFL Co-Founder Michael Clements recently went on Houston Sports radio to discuss an NRFL franchise in Houston as well as a recent article that said they wanted a team in Chicago, clearly contradicting their original plans for a focus on the East Coast. The way I see it, is that beggars can’t be choosers. If a pro competition is what they’re looking for, every eligible investor should be considered, not just on the East Coast. The mention of these new cities  suggests that their original East Coast plans have evolved.

Until next time folks… thanks and be well!

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