The United States Rugby Union filed for bankruptcy this week which is a little surprising. I see them as the one country that can add so much and change the entire outlook of the sport. Currently ranked number 16 in World Rugby I believe they can easily force their way into the top 10 and then progress slowly upwards from there.
They cannot afford to stop the development now and need to keep improving.
The International Rugby Board need a solid kick up the backside though for letting it get to this point. The bankruptcy is no more than a restructuring phase in order to move forward apparently.Investors are in place and it will be business as usual when the season starts again with most likely many new faces leading the way forward. The IRB is helping the United States Rugby Board putting the right processes in place.
It has taken them 2 weeks to make the announcement.
The IRB had the perfect opportunity recently to award the next World Cup to the States and they didn't. They opted for France which was a surprise as they have hosted the event multiple times already. There was a rumor that France paid a handsome sum as a sweetener which wouldn't shock anyone as why else would they have been granted the event again so soon after 2007.
The IRB normally like to alternate between the hemispheres every 4 years so it was due to come North after Japan. America was the obvious choice and one that should have happened. The IRB are in power to regulate and grow the game so why did they not look for new areas of growth. France won't add anything except to their honey pot yet America has the biggest honey pot if they do it right.
America loves contact sports as the NFL has shown with it's popularity. Rugby and Rugby league are probably the closest sports to American Football with the obvious differences. The negativity with the NFL and concussions has parents of kids worried and rugby would have been an alternative. I am not saying rugby is any safer but I do believe players wearing helmets makes them more reckless and feel invincible. If they removed the helmets the players would play differently and I believe it would be safer.
Rugby as a sport in the States has shown already that there is interest when New Zealand played Ireland on St Patricks day 2 years ago to a sold out Stadium in New York.The Rugby Sevens event hosted in the States is also well received and has a big following already.
Rugby is the one sport that the Americans could dominate and be the one sport that they would have a shot at a World Championship. We all know they play the World Series in baseball which is odd as it is only their teams involved, but Rugby they could challenge for higher honors. They have athletic sportsmen and given time could build up a decent squad of players. They need time though and this should be happening already as I see it as a 12-15 year plan and more long term.