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The newly-revised eligibility regulations include revised specifics on who would be eligible for the National All-Star Championships. What’s interesting aren’t the revisions, it’s simply a cutoff date for being CIPP registered. What’s interesting is that there is no men’s NASC at present, and yet USA Rugby has regulations for it. Many wonder if USA Rugby might bring this event back.
Continued criticism of the domestic game filters around, not only talk of the USA’s national teams, but of high school and college rugby. Coaches feel players are not getting a smooth transition from high school to college to club to elite play. The dip in the road is the club game. Games are too infrequent, and competitions not good enough.
Then see that the Chicago Lions, one of the best clubs in the nation, has pulled out of the Super League because the club can’t field anyone with two games of Super League experience from last spring in this fall’s DI team.
It all funnels down to one issue: men’s club rugby in the United States continues to struggle to provide very good players with the level, frequency, and consistency of competition to make them appreciably better.
The question RUGBYMag.com posed to USA Rugby officials, then, was, what is to be done about it?
The short answer is, not much. According to sources, the feeling in the USA Rugby camp was that major changes in competition have to be accompanied by energy at the grass-roots level. The Super League was created by clubs that wanted something more. The State-Based Rugby Organization was started at the state level, not by USA Rugby. The changes in college rugby were instigated by the coaches and the programs.
So, too, say USA Rugby sources, a big change in top-level competition (such as a national league that avoids the club system, or a territorial or GU-based all-star season) cannot be successful until the clubs want something done.
Currently, club rugby is run by the same people who have thought all is well for the past several years, and whose main concern (according to documentation) appears to be how to prevent good players from actually taking the field more than half a dozen times a year; until that changes, club rugby isn’t getting any better.