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PRO Rugby is still purporting to kickoff this April, and some recent announcements have been made by the fledgling league. Some other decisions appear to have been made and not announced. Let’s catch up.
There are now going to be five teams instead of the originally planned six. Four of them have been announced via the league’s Facebook account – Sacramento, San Francisco, San Diego and Columbus, Ohio. The fifth one, by many accounts, is Glendale, Colo., though it won’t be the Glendale Raptors.
Two head coaches have been announced by the league – Paul Keeler in San Francisco and Luke Gross in Sacramento. Tiger Rugby’s Paul Holmes is supposedly going to lead the Ohio squad, Belmont and Tiger man Ray Egan the San Diego team and former Notre Dame coach Sean O’Leary the Glendale team. USA Rugby staffer and former UCSB coach Kevin Battle and former Aspen coach Freddy Waititi have been announced as Gross’s assistants in Sacramento.
Last week potential players were notified of the upcoming timeline – contract offers should be made in mid-February, and the start of preseason is slated for March 14. That’s when players would report to their respective locations as determined by the league.
The contracts will be offered in three tiers. Capped internationals would fall into the first tier and make in the neighborhood of $35,000 a year. The top two tiers will be full-time employees of the league, while the third tier will be independent contractors receiving match fees. Medical insurance will be offered.
While no players appear to be contracted just yet, it is believed PRO Rugby has identified its player pool and started planning how to divvy up the talent based on geography, competitive balance and need.