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The Seattle Rugby Club is running into a roadblock to their upcoming fall season - the USA-Canada border.
The club has been informed by the British Columbia Rugby Union that teams will not be penalized if they choose not to travel to Seattle to play league games.
Seattle is a founding member of the BCRU, and Head Coach Kevin Flynn said the decision, which basically means teams aren't assessed forfeit penalties if they don't show up in Seattle, was very disappointing.
"We always travelm" said Flynn. "It has been hard to get the Canadian teams to travel to us, and we've tried to accommodate. We've played them up in Ferndale, and we've played supposed home games in Canada to make it work. Now how will it work out? If we don't go to Canada for a home game, will we be assessed a forfeit?"
Ferndale is 15 miles south of the border and is the home of the Chuckanut Rugby Club.
Several longtime officials within the BCRU have told the Seattle club they are appalled that a founding member of the union is being treated this way, and the call has gone out to ask clubs to fulfill their league fixtures.
"We do have some clubs that always make the trip," said Flynn. "Like Rowers [Vancouver Rowing Club]. They always show up. They say they like the trip, it's good for the team, and they always come to play."
Some within the Seattle system think the BCRU is trying to force the American team out of the league. Certainly the BC leagues seem to be under stress. League seasons used to be 15 games, and are now more like six.
Increased travel times, as well as struggles with recruiting players to play in the challenging BC leagues, have certainly made rugby more difficult in Western Canada.
Meanwhile with the new plan for DI rugby set for next season, Seattle might have to return to playing DI rugby in the USA.