Tony Ridnell: Ruggamatrix Interview re: USA Rugby Reply

I hope any interested people will listen to the interview I was able to do with Alex Goff.
Ruggamatric Interview with Tony Ridnell

Support titanic change at USA Rugby.  As a  rugby nation we should be able to have expectations, but we must earn it.  The first place to start is accurate self assessment at all levels.  Install leaders that provide vision, strategic objections, create standards that are measurable and create/enforce action items that are executable, all in support of the strategic plan. This is as much a business matter as it is a rugby matter

It is now time to shift from a vocal and highly supported call for change to a unity position.   Time for discussion and alignment to bring about change and the specific strategies & timelines we should follow.  My coming blogs will be about the how and when. We are looking forward to communicating with the rugby community and laying out our direction.

Have a say… Who should be the ‘Executive Dream Team’ at USA Rugby? 47

I imagine that the person responsible for the ‘running of USA Rugby” has a job that could be described as…

“Responsible for the results at all levels for everything that is “USA Rugby”.

Well, we know where I could take this article… but I won’t – because it is time to stop complaining and create something special.

What would I do?

I would surround myself with minds that I respect, know the game, get the business, and will always hit me straight with their input. Create a culture of inclusiveness, openness and fearlessness at all levels.

What would you do, and who would you choose?

If you were the head of USA Rugby and decided to create a dream team “Rugby Executive Team” or whatever you would call it… who would you choose?   My standards would include Rugby IQ, Executive IQ, Leadership IQ + Passion . Choices can be American, Foreign, whatever…

Choose 3-5 people you would want as your consigliore’s.   Send me PM, email, or make your views public!!!

Independent Review of USA Performance at RWC 2015?

Who would you choose to lead/participate an independent review panel of USAR performance in the RWC? Do you think this is necessary?  What do you think of the current HP Director having to hand his report over to his boss (CEO) such that any ‘independent analysis’ can be muted/edited in the final report to the Board?

USA Rugby: Change of Leadership is a Mandate from the American Rugby Community 35

Today I was given an audience with 4 members of the USA Rugby Board of Directors.  I made a powerful request for them to call a special meeting for a confidence vote of the current CEO, Nigel Melville.

Friends and vested parties warned me this would be a tough battle, and today did nothing but enforce those views.  I spoke to the Board members about a “mandate” from the American Rugby community for immediate change in the leadership of USA Rugby.  This mandate includes endorsements from multiple (if not all) Rugby World Cup Captains, RWC Coaches, and RWC administrators, and now hundreds of American Rugby shareholders/customers of USAR ranging from parents of players to several of the founding fathers of the USARFU in 1975.


Hey USA Rugby, “The ‘sleeping giant’ has awakened. His name is Tony Ridnell” Reply

As you can imagine, I have received a heck of a lot of comments on my blog, facebook, private messages etc..  It’s amazing, unless all the people who have ANYTHING positive to say about the state of rugby in America are too shy to reach out – then I can unequivocally say we have some serious work to do. Now that is settled, I want to do something about it.
Let’s get something straight.  We are all not going to agree on things.  I am going to ask you to trust that my leadership team will be the most committed, well purposed, knowledgeable on rugby at ALL levels (both sexes) and create access to all the financial resources we will need – but with a plan to tell and rally our country’s rugby following.  There’s that word ‘culture’.  That’s the first thing my leadership team will address.
That's me facing the camera, between 12 and 5. I have been 'in the arena'. I know what this will take.

That’s me facing the camera, between 12 and 5. I have been ‘in the arena’. I know what this will take.

I would like your support and trust that I have put together a group of people that will make this game great  in our country and give you something to rally around.  I am not going to provide too many details of our plans, we need to go about it the proper way – and get in position to make a difference.  I am personally prepared and committed to do what it takes to make a difference.


Hey USA Rugby – It’s time for a change (part 2) “Hope, but no Expectations” 6

Many readers of this blog, will be 28 years or older.  28 years ago, the first RWC was played. Japan, Argentina and USA were part of the inaugural Rugby World Cup. This is an excellent point in time from which to start a comparison for ‘progress’ in rugby playing nations.

Here are the results, Argy and USA both finished 1-2.  Japan 0-3.

Argentina RWC 1987 pool results

Argentina RWC 1987 pool results

USA & Japan Rugby pool results RWC1987

USA & Japan Rugby pool results RWC1987

Because the RWC results are the only metric we have to measure relative progress to other nations, I fast forward to the RWC 2015 results…

RWC 2015 Pool Results Including USA and Japan

RWC 2015 Pool Results Including USA and Japan

I’ll summarize:

USA: 1-2 in 1987.  In 2015, 0-4 in pool play, outscored 83-0 in the 2nd half by the two Tier One countries we played.  Lose to South Africa by 64-0

JAP: 0-3 in 1987. In 2015, are 3-1 and the first team ever with three wins not to advance to a QF. . Beat South Africa!!

ARGY:  1-2 in 1987.  In 2015 Argentina are IN THE RWC 2015 SEMIFINALS!!!!!!

Wake up USA Rugby Community!!

Despite claims that sound good in the media and to whomever is listening to the babble, there is no progress. We are getting left behind.   We have as a rugby playing nation wasted 28 years.  Again, it’s no ones fault.   There just has been a complete lack of vision, planning, and most importantly leadership at the helm of USA Rugby.

This is the United States of America. We are doormats in no domain.  Except rugby.

Here’s what I am doing

I am working with a close group of people, creating a plan for the rugby community in the United States that contains a one year plan, an 5 year plan and a 20 year vision.  Not dreams, not hopes, but executable plans. This is a bigger issue than “we should have kicked less than against Japan”.  Our problems start at the girls Under 7’s and elevate and are most noticeable at the Eagles level.  A global embarrassment.

Within this plan is to create a culture of rugby in this country.  Yes, a rugby culture.  Grass roots culture.  We have a plan to make the USA competitive on the global stage while we simultaneously build this culture domestically.  Don’t say it cannot be done.  We have thousands of incredibly passionate, hard working, volunteering in rugby in this country.. who deserve a pathway to the culture we all desire.  This culture will be the rising water that raises all boats.  Quality of play will get better, events will get better, etc.. Yes, professionalism is absolutely part of the program at the top.

This is not time to get caught up in details; trust that I am working with a top combination of rugby guys (all w/ international experience for the USA) who are also proven, and successful business leaders who understand the Executive function in any organization.

We all know this is the right thing to do. Some people’s feelings are going to get hurt.  But, they’ll toast us when USA plays in its first RWC quarterfinal.

Hope, But no Expectations

Here is a quote from a wonderful rugby gal… She loves rugby as much as I do and I respect that… She refers to the WSU Cougars (perennial Pac 12 doormats)…


Nigel – Its time to go. No ‘knee-jerk’ reaction to US Eagles’ poor Rugby World Cup, says Melville 21

Attn: Nigel Melville.

It is time for you to return to the homeland.  You’ve been around for close to 10 years ‘running’ American Rugby and have absolutely nothing to show for it.  You have a chance with one of the world’s leading rugby reporting newspapers, “The Guardian”, to tell the story of what YOUR plan is for American rugby.  I say YOUR plan, because it is YOUR plan (well it would be if a plan existed).  All the marvelous points you make about the plight of USA Rugby, our performance at RWC2015, and the pointing of fingers away from yourself and your group for the results of hard decisions poorly made (or even not made) during your tenure are pathetic and shows no comprehension of the LEADERSHIP required by a CEO at any level.  It is not our play that is embarrassing any more, it is our barren leadership.


USA Rugby is in the #RWC2015 Quarterfinal at Twickenham on Sunday?? 2

Oh, darn… dreaming again.  But it got me thinking…

This weekend is one of the epic Rugby watching periods of any four year period.  This is the quadrennial global version of the Sweet 16 (that’s the USA College Basketball tournament for all you foreigners out there – suffice to say exciting stuff!).

I’ll be watching all four matches on Sat/Sun online on Universal.    I’ll be watching Aussie (now the favorite IMO), and check the AB’s to see if they get it together. Can Wales get it together through injury and that devastating loss to Oz last week? And,  can Argentina make history and get to a Semi!?

And then I thought about something.. Here I am, once again, turning on my device at 0600 a.m. to watch two other countries play rugby.  Sort of like watching other teams in the Super Bowl and thinking ‘My team should be there’.

I am excited to watch the rugby, the contact, try and get a feel for the atmosphere (I always turn it up too loud).  But I could give two hoots deep down about who wins.

Lets give these boys something to really play for and to compete.


Rugby: “TR, why are you so passionate all of a sudden, and what are you going to do about it?” 4

By now, if you have read any of my stuff – you know that I am an upset, frustrated former USA Rugby player. And, as I have come to find out, there are a lot of people crammed under that roof.  From the mid 1980’s to the RWC2015, there are a lot of frustrated people in American rugby. How about, everyone in American rugby!!   I’ve done my share (more than I would like w/out action) complaining, identifying my view on the state of things, basically trying to identify all the reasons why we suck.  Yes, I said it.  We suck.  Not the players, not the coaches, no one person.  All of us.  We suck.

“We suck” because collectively we have allowed over the years for the American rugby scene to deteriorate into its current state.  One in which ABSOLUTELY nothing has changed in at least 24 years. Here’s why.   If in 1991, I would have been asked about my RWC experience.  I would have said,

1991 Player:  “You know I am disappointed, and I would be hard pressed to call this a positive life experience’ 


USA Rugby: “Improving”, “In the right direction”? Rest of World Does Not Agree Reply

You’ve read my previous posts and my thoughts on accountability by USA Rugby RWC2015 Team Management and our USAR Board.

My position on the requirement we have leadership at the top levels of American Rugby, and the lack of accountability and honest at the top level is becoming well known.

Yet, some people in the USA still hang to the notion we are improving.  Well, the rest of the world doesn’t seem to think so.

This article published today in the Daily Telegraph rates the RWC2015 Teams.  One guess, where do you think USA Rugby ranked.


USA Rugby: Pro League being announced this week? And, What’s behind “RIM” anyway? #NoMoreOandFour 24

I had an epiphany today about where I belong in rugby at age 54 and have not been actively engaged in for many years.  My next post will be about why I am all of a sudden I am so passionate all of a sudden (in short, just sick and tired of blindly accepting mediocrity), and I’ll provide a background behind that in that post.

Today’s post will focus on BIG ISSUES and pose questions, that I want answered.  #NoMoreMediocrity