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Old 02-18-2019, 05:40 AM
CastletonSnob is offline
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Major League Rugby.


Anyone heard of this? It's an American professional rugby union league that's in its 2nd season.

They have full games on YouTube if you wanna check it out.

Do you think this league could make rugby more popular in the US?
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:38 AM
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Would have said rugby league was a better bet to have some success in the US - some common ground with American football, massively physical minus the head-on-head contacts. Straightforward, fast-moving game that is easy to understand.

Rugby union is also very physical, but in a more attritional way. The problem is that is has very complicated rules - England play Wales this weekend in Cardiff in what is a traditional big game, 75000 manic fans, of which about 26 understand the full rules of rugby union. This is not a problem as they have all grown up with it, but it could be a problem when introducing the game somewhere new.

What you could do in the US is tweak the rules to make the game your own, a bit like the CFL has some differences to NFL. Rugby union is one of those sports where the traditional rules have not adapted to changing times, but it is extremely difficult to make deep-rooted changes to such a well-established game. 15 players on a union pitch was fine back in the amateur days when no one was fit, it's less fine now - things like that.
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Old 02-18-2019, 12:02 PM
dalej42 is offline
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Thanks for making me aware, hadn’t heard of this league. I remember when the sports networks used to air a lot of these types of smaller leagues to fill time, but now all they want to do is air boring talk shows. I don’t need 5000 NFL mock drafts or yet another debate about Kaepernick
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Old 02-18-2019, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Busy Scissors View Post
England play Wales this weekend in Cardiff in what is a traditional big game, 75000 manic fans, of which about 26 understand the full rules of rugby union.
Correction - 26 understand the full rules as they were last year. This year the number is down to 3 - none of whom are the officials on the pitch.

Fortunately, there are innumerable newspaper columnists whose knowledge of the rules is complete and perfect, and can point out every mistake to their loyal readers - although there will be little commonality between the articles writen by experts from the opposing countries.............

Seriously - I agree with the main point about the rules - some interpretations are so obscure and technical, it is nigh on impossible for even a reasonably knowledgeable fan to be comfortable with the refereeing - unless they choose to just ignore rulings and treat them as 'rub of the green'.
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Old 02-18-2019, 06:40 PM
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Contraire, the rules whilst byzantine are almost workable, it's the interpretation and application of them that's unfathomable.

No ruby forward in the history of the game has understood why they were penalised in a ruck or maul. As in they know they've fringed, it's mandatory [no photo of Richie McCaw engaged in and actually on-side in a ruck or maul exists] ... just that somebody else in their team or the opposition did it (or some other infraction) worse or first.

The chances of a supporter in the stands 150m away, even with hi-res slo-mo replays, are zilch.


Not that league is much better. I'd dispute vigorously that it's a straightforward game.

Thugs game played by gentlemen vs gentlemen's game played by thugs.
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Old 02-19-2019, 04:39 AM
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Originally Posted by penultima thule View Post
Contraire, the rules whilst byzantine are almost workable, it's the interpretation and application of them that's unfathomable.

No ruby forward in the history of the game has understood why they were penalised in a ruck or maul. As in they know they've fringed, it's mandatory [no photo of Richie McCaw engaged in and actually on-side in a ruck or maul exists] ... just that somebody else in their team or the opposition did it (or some other infraction) worse or first.

The chances of a supporter in the stands 150m away, even with hi-res slo-mo replays, are zilch.


Not that league is much better. I'd dispute vigorously that it's a straightforward game.

Thugs game played by gentlemen vs gentlemen's game played by thugs.
The ersatz veneer of respectability and Corinthian values that union enjoys here in the UK is pretty funny - the crowd were treated to a scintillating contest featuring three headstamps, an eye gouge, two scrotum grabs, and the piece de resistance, an unsolicited anus poke. But it's all OK because they call the referee Sir

Last edited by Busy Scissors; 02-19-2019 at 04:40 AM.
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Old 02-19-2019, 06:50 AM
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Rugby is a game for cheats but I must take issue with the idea that it is violent. I reffed for over 10 years (and have now retired for personal reasons) and saw one eye gouge in all the time I reffed. The guy was banned for a year. Stamping attracted 6-12 week bans depending on the severity. This image of the game is from the 1970s.

Rugby Union has cleaned up immeasurably ever since the start of the pro era. Acts of violence result in lengthy bans (punch someone in a game of football you might get 4 games - do it in rugby and there's a good chance you'll see double that), internationals and top level club games are subject to a video review and citing process to try and catch everything and they are continually trying to clamp down on high tackles to limit concussions. The major issue with the game is that everyone on the field is miles bigger and way fitter than when the number of players on each side was codified - and the consequent lack of space has lead to an impact led game that causes huge wear and tear on players bodies. And even then, the law book is being adjusted to increase the ball in play time and limit the impact on players (witness the change in scrum engagement sequence - I watched some highlights of the 2003 6N the other day and almost every scrum collapsed at the "hit" phase - take that out and scrums have become far less likely to hit the deck). It's safer now than it has been for years - and the fact the players keep getting injured is less to do with violence and more the nature of the game and its changed status from amateur to pro.

On topic - I have always thought League and 7s would have more chance of success in the US but more power to those in charge for giving Major League Rugby a whirl. In answer to the question of whether it will make the game more popular in the US - someone from the US rugby community is probably better placed than me to answer. I would say yes - but only because its popularity is very low, so it could hardly make it less popular. As I understand it, rugby in the US is a game for people to play, so you'll doubtless have pockets of really loyal, hardcore rugby guys (and whatever ex-pats are involved) but the question of whether they are going to be turning out in droves to watch this and make it a success is likely to be mitigated by the fact that a bunch of the most committed blokes are doubtless looking after and playing in their own community rugby sides and won't have time to go and watch it...

In short, it will take a long time for this to make a major dent I would say. Still, it's better than nothing and doubtless would be good fun to go along to a game.

Last edited by Cumbrian; 02-19-2019 at 06:52 AM.
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Old 02-19-2019, 06:58 AM
Dead Cat is offline
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I'd be interested to see what the standard is like - my guess is the gap between MLR and the European pro leagues is significantly greater than the gap between MLS and the European pro leagues, for example, but is that in fact true? It's pretty subjective, of course.
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:04 AM
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There's a little bit of money knocking around and there are some decent pro players there - Ben Foden is playing for instance - and I would imagine that the bulk of the US and Canadian national sides will be involved. As a guide though, it usually takes an exceptional US or Canadian player to play regularly in the top level in England or France, though there have been a few knocking around on benches or in reserve squads. Without having seen it, but using this as a guide, the standard is likely to be somewhere around Championship/Ligue 2 standard as a result - which isn't terrible but neither is it top drawer.
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Old 02-19-2019, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penultima thule View Post
Not that league is much better. I'd dispute vigorously that it's a straightforward game.
In my opinion League is hugely more understandable rules-wise. I've been watching Union as an England fan all my life and I can't fathom the rules. League though, no real problem there.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:49 PM
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I like Rugby but I’m afraid most Americans who won’t take the time to understand the sport see it as football without a forward pass and thus a bore.


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Old 02-24-2019, 09:26 AM
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I've tuned in when I happen to see it on when channel surfing. CBS Sports Network I think.

Don't understand it, but do enjoy it.
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Old 02-24-2019, 09:34 AM
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I thought getting a professional soccer league here (to say nothing of actually filling the stadiums; now if we could just get better TV coverage) was a MAJOR achievement - and I like soccer. Don't see rugby ever being anything more than an eighth-tier sport here, played by amateurs with day jobs, sorry.
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Old 02-28-2019, 04:17 AM
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https://www.theguardian.com/sport/20...vens-las-vegas

As an addendum to this, and in keeping with some of the comments above, the US men's Rugby 7s team is performing at an exceptionally high level at the moment - currently tied for 1st in the World Series 7s (joint with New Zealand) and made 4 finals in a row. This is also an Olympic sport, which may help garner it some funding in the US and the game is both faster and much less technically demanding than 15s. Whether this translates into mass interest in rugby is unlikely I would say, but it's generally easier to get a potential casual fan interested in a game when their country's team is good.
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