Tuesday, July 15th, 2008...3:54 pm

USA – Sleeping rugby giant !

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 Source: If America gets serious about rugby, watch out world – Zolton

Indeed, out of the thousands who aspire to make the NFL each year, only 450 make the cut, and those who do have an average career length of just four years.

All of which suggests that there are a lot of young, naturally gifted athletes in America who enjoy body contact sports but can’t get a start in a professional, competitive league.

So what happens to them?

The majority give competitive sports away altogether. America doesn’t cater well to the second or third tier of athlete. There is the All American Football League, which pitches itself as a holding ground for those players who still consider themselves good enough to earn a start in the NFL.

But you won’t see much action below this level.

Chances are, if you don’t make the big time, you’ll probably never play American Football again.

So what would happen if more of these elite college players were recruited into rugby teams?

Kevin Roberts’ appointment back in November 2006 to the position of Chairman of the US Rugby Union was a step in the right direction.

Roberts, a New York-based Kiwi (originally from the North of England) has headed up Saatchi & Saatchi as its CEO Worldwide since 1997 and is well-positioned, and connected (he was the director of the New Zealand Rugby Union for four years) to oversee the continuing growth of rugby in America.

He professes to have come to his four year appointment with “a real passion to lift the game in the US and start maximizing its enormous potential” and considers America to “have probably the best governance structure in world rugby. A nine-man Board comprising six independents, two international rugby players and a congress representative.”

“The world of rugby awaits a vibrant US”, he said shortly before his appointment. “The IRB would like to see the US succeed, as would corporate sponsors, and as would all other rugby playing nations who I’m sure would find no problem in coming over to play us in California, Colorado or New York.”

Already there are more than 60,000 registered rugby players in America (compared to about 120,000 in Australia) and Roberts has signaled his intention to target the US colleges for the recruitment of new players.

“The centralised contracting of players is key to the US,” he said back in 2006. “Just imagine the athletic capability of all these college athletes who don’t make the NFL and suddenly at age eighteen find themselves with no competitive sports route to follow. These guys are fit, fast, powerful and love physical contact. With the right coaching and structure around them, they can be world beaters in Sevens and a top ten rugby nation within four years.”

Which gives Roberts two years to realise his vision.

If he’s as successful with his selling of rugby to college football stars as he has been in elevating the profiles of both Pepsi and Saatchi & Saatchi, then American rugby could well emerge as a genuine contender for a World Cup within the next decade.

Players like : Muhammad Abdulqaadir

My Comments: Can you imagine the massive donutting that would go on by ex All Blacks wanna be coaches if there was plenty of money for administrators in USA rugby. Watch out USA !

Also imagine a billionaire in France and also USA wanting NZ top rugby talent, talk about player drain then, that’s at story for another decade! 

Donutting Defined: The ability to get invited to swanky dos purely to shake hands and nod your head, and having no idea or talent on how to do anything. For example the ‘King of Donutting’ is the Queen of England husband, Prince Phillip, I mean what does he really do ???

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