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In San Francisco of January 1989 marked the historic first get-together between the USA Rugby Football Union and the International Rugby Board (IRB). Attending were the USARFC Executive Committee and two executives with the IRB, including, Keith Rowlands, the Executive Secretary.

The genesis of this important meeting occurred 57-years earlier in 1932 when the New York RFC, the US’s first organized club solely for rugby, applied to join the Rugby Football Union (RFU) in England. The RFU at that time was in charge of enrolling clubs and unions, and also publishing the official bye-laws of the game. The NYRFC was accepted as a bone fide affiliate - the nation’s first - occupying an alphabetical slot between Newton College, and the New Zealand RFU.

Key to the San Francisco meeting was the IRB’s admission that it was undergoing major changes in how the organization expanded globally. Additionally, it listed the requirements for associate membership, a status that might be offered to the USARFU. The IRB stipulated that only its members would be allowed to participate in future World Cup play.