The holiday season is in full swing so it’s time to take a look at a wish list for American rugby.
More rugby on television. We certainly aren’t starved for rugby on television, after all, we get Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship on DirecTV, and we get European matches on Fox Soccer Plus, but there is still much to be improved. First off, there isn’t much domestic rugby on television. In total there are two events that make it on national television every year: the Las Vegas 7’s and the Collegiate Rugby Championship. The recent College 7’s was on ESPN3 which was a great development, but in 2013 we hope there are more matches. Additionally, it would be nice if the rugby we do have on television was not on delay or on in the middle of the night on a channel almost no one gets, but we shouldn’t get greedy.
More Eagles matches. Of course the best way to get more rugby on television is for the Eagles to play more matches. Last year they played six matches. We loved each one of them, that’s why we want more! The good news is that World Cup qualifying should add two matches to the schedule this year and the possibility of a USA Invitational side taking on the Lions from South Africa in two matches is a plus. In total, that means the Eagles/USA Invitational might play ten matches. That’s a little less than what most Tier I teams play but at least it’s an improvement.
A professional rugby competition. The Grand Prix 7’s is scheduled to happen next year and will be the closest that the U.S. gets to pro rugby for the foreseeable future (if it happens). But being greedy, the coming to fruition of the long-rumored 15’s competition would be nice.
A breakout player. It’s been awhile since U.S. fans have had one player burst onto the scene and immediately make an enormous impact. We’ve had several players that have shown promise, like Carlin Isles, but we need someone who can come in and immediately make the Eagles or Eagles 7’s more dangerous.
More media coverage. Speaking of Carlin Isles, his YouTube video has gone viral. Our holiday wish list includes more YouTube sensations from the world of American rugby. It also includes U.S. sports media outlets paying more attention.
Better funding for our 7’s teams. Realistically the U.S.A. Women’s 7’s team has the best chance of earning a medal in Rio in 2016. While they do have stipends for players (as do the men) it’s not enough to keep players around for the long-term. Our list includes a big sponsor or big donor to step forward and help the U.S. keep Olympic gold.
More facilities. There isn’t anything much better than watching a rugby match on a Saturday afternoon in a nice setting. We need more of that and the facilities to make that happen. That means good fields with bleachers. As Kevin Costner said in Field of Dreams, “If you build it they will come.” If we build some small but nice rugby venues, families and young players will turn out.
Praise for the hard work of rugby folks. There are a lot of hard working people that make rugby happen in this country. Often their work goes unnoticed. Hopefully we take the time to thank them for their hard work.
Most importantly on our list, unity among fans. Rugby fans in this country are diverse. Some only play for their local club team but don’t watch international rugby, some only watch international rugby and don’t play for their local club. Others are casual fans who will go to the Las Vegas 7’s, some are strictly fans of the women’s game, and some are parents of youth players. This diversity has often meant that there are unnecessary schisms. This needs to stop. Hopefully in 2013 we will see fans come together and support one another as we grow our sport.
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The Barbarians are one of the top invitational rugby sides with a long history and classic rugby jersey.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Lions get ready for their matches with this green training jersey. It's what the players wear. Get in the Gear!
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The Lions are ready to get their Australia tour underway. They arrive in Perth on Monday.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.