Sunday, November 1, 2015

Rugby in the USA

Rugby in the USA

The Rugby World Cup just concluded and New Zealand beat Australia in the Final in England. There is a wide gap between the tier 1 teams and the rest. USA is definitely in the Tier 2.              

  Well starting from the top have the Rugby World Cup.  There have been 8 World Cups and New Zealand (all Blacks) have won 3, Australia and South African each have won it twice. Merry old England has won it once in 2003.  There are 10 Tier 1 nations presently. The Six Nations from Europe France, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy. The Tri Nations (New Zealand, Australia and S Africa) and Argentina. Then there is Tier 2 where the USA resides.  The USA is competitive but have a very long way to go.

New Zealand, Australia and South Africa
                 New Zealand, Australia and South Africa also play in the Rugby Championship every year. This is a home and away and best record claims the championship. This is a very competative  competition in the World and it happens every year.  Link below

England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. 
    The next biggest Rugby Competition is the Six Nations Championship. This is also an annual championship involving 6 European nations of England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. They are all Tier 1 nations. France has the Top 14 club league, England had the Aviva Rugby Premiership, and then there is the growing Guinness Pro 12 with 12 teams from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Italy. The 6 nations Championship is played iin a home and away format. Some nations get 3 home games and 2 away.

Argentina, USA, Canada, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil
The USA national Rugby team is like their international soccer team. They have been growing but are second tier compared to the elite teams.  They get slapped around at the Rugby World Cups. They compete in the regional Pacific Nations Cup in 2013, 2014 and 2015. They placed 5th of 5 in 2013, 3rd of 6 in 2014 and 5th of 6 in the 2015 Pacific Nations Cup.  These nations included Fiji, Somoa, Tonga, Japan, Canada and USA. Starting in 2016 the USA will now play in the Americas Six Nations. This will be a yearly competition between Argentina, USA, Canada, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil. These nations are not as good as the Pacific Nations teams however this tournament will elevate the image of Rugby in USA. This tournament will be played at the same time as the European Six Nations Championship.  It will be home/away against one other nation like the 6 nations cup. This tournament will be good to raise the interest and visibility of the sport in the states.

USA semi-pro domestic league
The USA also has  Rugby domestic Leagues in its infancy. The top league presently is the USA Rugby League and it is a semi-professional league. The USA Rugby League only has 14 clubs. 

Regional leagues
These leagues are presently broken into geographical areas. The green is called the New England, Blue is called the Empire, Light blue is Eastern Penn, and brown (Virginia and Maryland is called Capitol and Florida is at the bottom right. In order for the USA national team to get better the players have to get groomed in these leagues. These leagues are always changing and growing which is a good thing. 

The Rugby Sevens is the other half of Rugby that the USA is much better at.