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Belmont Shore, Old Mission beach Athletic Club, San Francisco Golden Gate, Olympic Club and Santa Monica are discussing, and apparently close to, creating a West Coast 15s championship independent of USA Rugby’s DI or Elite Cup.
The plan is to begin play January 2014, play a home-and-away schedule culminating in a playoff or championship game at the end of April or beginning of May. The founding crew of teams is interested in adding the Denver Barbarians, Glendale and Seattle-OPSB.
“The idea of the West Coast Cup is we could run an incredibly competitive league with very little money, compared to what we had laid out for the Super League,” said Belmont Shore president James Walker.
“If you look at the Elite Cup, teams have to travel three, four times for a short eight-game season and are spending $40,000 to $50,000 on average, and that’s not a very satisfying season. We can have a 10, 12, 14 game season, plus a playoff, and we can do it all for under $40,000.”
The timing of the season is an added bonus. By ending by early May, clubs can assure they won’t be losing their best players to national call-ups at the most important part of the season, like they have in DI and Elite Cup play previously.
“We want to get rid of this idiocy where we get to the end of our season and our best players get taken away from us,” said Walker. “So if there’s any national duties, the players can go straight into national duty straight after the final and be ready to step up.”
Walker said that while clubs would not be able to compete in both the West Coast Cup and USA Rugby’s championships, but that the league is not an anti-USA Rugby movement.
“We do want USA Rugby’s blessing. We do want them to not necessarily back us, but give us the green light,” he said. “They’ve made the argument we’re going to be a competing competition, but there’s nothing we can do about it. We’re not interested in not being architects of our own future, so to speak.”