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Arizona State has entered into a partnership with the Brumbies of Super Rugby. The Australian professional club is setting up an academy at ASU’s campus in Tempe, Ariz. and will look to populate it with players who have the potential to play in the top professional league in the world someday.
For the Brumbies, the academy presents an opportunity to comb the United States for untapped rugby talent, and for ASU, it’s a pretty attractive magnet for potential Sun Devils.
“ASU’s mission statement includes internationalization of the university, and they see this partnership with Brumbies, which will also be with the Unviersity of Canberra, as really the ultimate internationalization of this program,” said ASU Rugby head coach Gary Lane, who’s been working on establishing this partnership for years.
“It’s going to cater to players from all over the world who want to come to ASU and want to train at ASU, and I think it really fits into their profile right now.”
While Lane certainly hopes the academy will attract some of top high school and collegiate eligible talent to Tempe, and therefore ASU, academy participants are not required to be students.
“I’d like to springboard off the High School All American program if we can, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. It can be students who are good enough and want to get a shot at Super 16 Rugby. It’s really a conduit to Super 16 Rugby,” said Lane.
“It would be nice to have them come to ASU and play for ASU Rugby. That would be the preference, I think, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. We can cater to all sorts of players.”
The Academy will charge a reasonable fee, says Lane, and provide some scholarships, both for the Tempe academy and to train at the Brumbies home in Canberra, Australia. The search for players begins in September with a series of camps in New Jersey, Minnesota and Arizona.
“If a player meets the criteria, then they’ll be sent an invitation to come into the Academy and basically work under the tutelage of the Brumbies who will be setting up shop at ASU,” Lane said.
"Basically, players will pay to be in a full-time rugby program," Brumbies commercial academy manager Nick Leah told the Canberra Times. "They will pretty much live like Brumbies.”