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In 1968, A. Jon Prusmack, a graphic artist who played rugby for the Westchester (NY) RFC, decided to publish a glossy magazine in New York City for what he perceived was the burgeoning rugby-playing market in the United States. He titled it “Scrumdown,” selling it for $1.50. He managed to put out a four issues in 1968 and 1969 before suspending publication.
In the years that followed, the initiative remained moribund due to the high cost of magazine printing and short fall of revenue.
But Prusmack’s entrepreneurial spirit rose again in 1975 when he changed the format, publishing “Scrumdown” as a tabloid newspaper at a lower cost. The introductory issue headlined: “UNITED STAES FORMS NATIONAL RUGBY UNION” and detailed the meeting in Chicago that birthed the USARFU.
Prusmack was eager for neophyte coaches in the US to receive professional advice, and, as written in that September 1975 issue, sponsored a formalized coaching clinic with internationally capped Don Rutherford heading the two-day, July 1975 session. Thirty-six coaches from as far away as Texas came to the campus of St. Johns University in Queens, NY for the experience. Rutherford, at that time, served as Technical Administrator for the RFU at Twickenham.
To assist Rutherford conduct the clinic, “Scrumdown” employed the assistance of many local coaches whose group picture is above. Two, Dick Donelli (Old Blue) and Ray Cornbill (Manhattan RFC), would be elected to the USA Rugby Hall of Fame.