On USA Rugby, John Mitchell, RIM, The Rugby Channel, & the Board. 32

In a calamity that could only be described as “Melvillean” in nature, USA Rugby head coach John Mitchell has seemingly made his 4 year commitment/contract disappear.  The announcement of Mitchell signing on as “Executive of Rugby” for the Super Rugby Bulls franchise really has come as no surprise, as rumors have been circulating to this effect for months.

I understand that “sports is a business”, what I don’t understand is how people that sign 4 year contracts and ‘commit’ to take a national team through a complete Rugby World Cup cycle, simply get to walk away.  Rumors were already circulating approximately two months ago when USAR CEO Dan Payne requested that Mitchell domicile in the United States.  Mitchell has lived in Pietermaritzburg, RSA during his tenure as USAR Men’s XV Coach and has rarely been seen at any non USA Eagle events that should mandate his presence.

Mitchell’s Departure is certainly a relief for Payne and the USAR Organization

I am sure there is relief in Boulder, CO (USAR HQ) now that USAR is out from under yet another bloated contract where the ROI was questionable.  Yes, the Eagles played well in the ARC, but that tournament is not exactly a high profile international event. Sources have advised that Mitchell’s contract was $250,000 for 16-17 weeks of required participation/attendance each year.  The Eagles have raised the standard, certainly since the RWC2015 horror, and 5 wins in a row should be celebrated, but these announcements are a win/win for both Mitchell and USA Rugby.  There does not seem to be any discussion of a contract ‘buy out’, but perhaps Payne let that slide due to other issues he held no leverage on (i.e. residence request, etc…).

As USAR searches for a new coach, I would ensure that he or she resides in the country and have metrics set for his/her participation at events, not only recruiting/evaluating/motivating players but  also as the spokesperson for elite levels of USA Rugby around the country, personally impacting the growth of the game.  This job should be held sacred within our rugby community.  It should be the most highly coveted position in USA Rugby, and certainly held by individuals who respect the commitment it will take to succeed in this job, not used as yet another stepping stone for a foreign coach.

I’m fine with Mitchell leaving.  I recall my excitement of his hiring,  the fairy tale ending I dreamed of for both parties.  I envisioned some Eagle World Cup success, and Mitchell resurrecting his career accordingly. Less than two years later,  disappointment as USAR has once again been used as a stepping stone in someone else’s career.  As a former player, the absentee coach concept didn’t work for me. The lack of commitment to physically appear in the USA and create a legacy for himself (after nothing short of a tumultuous career in every role he has assumed as a coach) was extremely disappointing.  I understand he’s married with three children.  That is wonderful. My suggestion – don’t take the job if you cannot commit to it. Or, getting back to Melville – don’t offer it.  Who knows what Melville’s expectations were, but in supporting the ‘we must do something big’ theory, the hiring of Mitchell fit right in.

I am sure Payne would agree that getting out from the Mitchell contract is nothing short of a blessing.  Way too much was paid for far too little commitment from Mitchell.   Payne now gets to put his stamp on his organization in naming a new coach; and I am sure proper expectations will be set.  Personally, if it were a business setting I would have extricated Mitchell from anything to do with the Eagles again after the announcement yesterday, but apparently Mitchell is going to stay on and coach thru the June RWC qualifiers. This continuity is best for the players and the continuity of the team.

The Melville Legacy and what USAR must do to extricate itself!

This article is not about John Mitchell.  It’s about the continued effect of ‘The Melville Legacy’ and how it still effects us today, and what we MUST do to effect an entirely new path.

My recent rugby travels introduced me to a gentleman who self-described himself as “Nigel Melville’s closest friend in America”.  I decided to use that entree to ask some more questions, and the outcome was something to the effect of  ‘Nigel’s biggest downfall was that he was the eternal optimist’.  Having thought on this for a while, the issues currently bogging down USA Rugby (i.e. RIM, The Rugby Channel, the never-ending PRO saga, etc..) all came from Melville’s sense that “We have to do something big!, We need to create a huge impact!”. The eternal optimist. And, it appears that Melville got the likes of Chang, Latham, Keck, etc… to buy into the grandiose ideas such as the unvetted RIM and TRC.  The magnitude of the Mitchell (a former All Black AND All Black head coach) contract, and the complete debacle surrounding PRO Rugby add to the ‘we have to do something big’ narrative.

Where does USAR Stand today?

So, where does that leave us today?  Mitchell is gone.  The likes of Doug Schoninger and PRO Rugby are fading fast (and lucky for all the USAR Board members who approved/signed that contract who may get away with not being outed for negligence, or sheer foolishness), so Payne is getting some runway now to play offense. However, we still have the likes of RIM and TRC as Melville legacy items.

My questioning of RIM and TRC has yet to be met with any satisfactory answer.  I can only imagine David Sternberg and Chad Keck visiting with NBC Sports executives the past few weeks, literally begging for NBC to allow TRC to have some scraps of content for TRC to broadcast.  Remember the TRC promise to bring you all USA games?  Check that – it won’t be happening.

My assessment is The Rugby Channel has nowhere to go without changing its model/audience significantly.  RIM was not included and had zero participation in the enormous deal that NBC announced with World Rugby earlier this week, so I continue to question the necessity/cost/mindshare of this organization.  Remember, RIM was formed because ‘potential sponsors wouldn’t answer our calls’.  For me, if we had the right people calling with a compelling value proposition potential sponsors would come running.

My Board Interview

As many know, I was nominated for a Board seat for the August cycle.  My interview with the nominating Chair, Marni Vath could not have gone worse.  The first 5 minutes I spent telling her of my experience at the Champions Cup quarterfinal in the UK followed by some learnings from a highly educational trip to the Hong Kong 7’s.  I now have some concrete ideas for fund-raising and sponsorship, getting people/organizations with their particular interest to engage financially (i.e. in addition to Men’s 7’s philanthropy that exists now).  It’s comprehensive and involves a ‘networking ground game’, and I am confident we solve a lot of problems with my program.  As I was beginning to discuss these ideas, Marni advised that there would be no way she could recommend me for further consideration because I was too ‘divisive’.  I found this an interesting description, as all I have done is attempt to learn the landscape, meet people, and affect some accountability  all of which I consider myself to have been moderately successful.  If asking questions is ‘divisive’, sign me up.

The remainder of the call consisted of me attempting to discuss RIM, TRC, PRO, RWC2018 with Marni, and she gave me her assessment that getting involved in discussion like that is ‘more operational in nature and not under the purview of a Director’.  She used that phrase on several occasions, i.e. “operational in nature”. She also advised her pride in taking what she considers a ‘unique’ view of what a Board should look like, as well as the Directors themselves.

I could only think to myself; The Board created RIM, TRC, PRO debacle, etc., yet the Chairman of the Nominating committee feels that these issues are operational in nature and not under the purview of the Board or its Directors.  I thought, ‘what the hell are we talking about then?’

It was clear to me that Marni was not aware of the treacherous position of TRC, RIM, and the massively negative effect PRO has had on the top level play in this country, etc… and she certainly didn’t want to discuss any of it.  I wonder what those vested in The Rugby Channel are thinking now after the NBC announcement.  Perhaps she didn’t want to admit that the recent Board selections, particularly during the Melville reign, are the responsibility of her Board nominating committee and are culprits in the creation of these entities that has caused the massive overspend, lack of revenue generation, and well-documented poor Board performance.

A subsequent conversation with another congress member yielded the information that Marni on private calls later described me as ‘hostile’ during my interview, and ‘progressing my own agenda’. I wouldn’t describe my behavior as hostile, but more of being completely astonished at the fact that a person with self described views on ‘what a Board should look like’, and having little to no knowledge of the carnage that the nominating committee appointees have created was in charge of this nominating process and interviewing me.  I was disappointed more than anything.  I recall spending 20% of the call proselytizing for the likes of several others to be awarded this Board seat.  No need to mention names.

Some Ideas

I had entered the call very excited to speak of some ideas I constructed during the Europe/Hong Kong trip.  There is a direct correlation between the support and involvement of the major benefactors of the Men’s 7s team, and the success on the field. There is significant accountability that exists up and down the Men’s 7’s hierarchy, and it is impressive. The performance speaks for itself.  I believe that there are groups of people who would/could form to create similar philanthropic groups such as that which exists in the Men’s 7’s program.  It works.  We can create similar groups that have vested interested in each other’s success for each ‘silo’ of interest (e.g., HSAA’s, Women’s programs, Men’s XVs, U 20’s, etc…). It will take a huge ‘ground game’ of networking, but it can be done.  This would increase the amount of philanthropic funds that the Union’s program’s receive, but is the key to ‘bringing people together’ that is so often talked about.

It is also clear that USA Rugby’s presence globally (with the exception of the on the field performance of the Men’s 7s) is suspect.  We need ambassadors (rugby/business leaders) who can work formally on behalf of USAR utilizing individual networks/contacts to create more financial opportunities for the Union.  Most importantly,  these ambassadors would be tasked with targeted and focused ‘missions’ where any contact/opportunity can take on significantly increased value. When I suggested I (along with numerous others I named) could perform such a role, perhaps this is when Marni felt I was forwarding my own agenda.

Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t feel RIM and TRC should be dismantled.  I do feel they should be evaluated by an independent group regarding why they exist, and whether they should continue to exist.  To be clear,  there is not a person I have met around the world (including those who have invested in RIM) who can explain to me with optimism a story of a profitable future for RIM.  Not one person.  As stated before, with the world’s quality on field content gobbled up by major networks, The Rugby Channel must significantly change it’s model for financial success.  I am not complaining about the content; it’s acceptable,  the problem is it just won’t draw many more subscribers than the 8,000 or so that currently exist and nowhere near what I understand to be ‘break even’. One draw to TRC subscribers was the ‘exclusive’ broadcasts of USA games.  The NBC announcement nullifies that.

Rugby Business Executives Association (RBEA)

I am excited about the ‘Advisory Council’ that George Henderson and Dan Payne have created in the recently announced Rugby Business Executives Association (RBEA).  This group’s first meeting is in San Diego prior to one of the RWC qualifiers vs. Canada. I consider this a do-not-miss opportunity, and will relish the opportunity to openly discuss the challenges facing American Rugby with the likes of Chang, Keck, etc… who will be present on a panel.

Mitchell is headed to Pretoria, PRO is done. TRC will fade after millions of dollars of investment, and the success or failure of RIM still lies in the balance with little support and/or understanding from anyone outside of the key players.  All this founded on the Melville ethos of ‘we must do something big’.

After this depressing experience surrounding my Board interview, I took a few weeks off from rugby business. It’s quite overwhelming to realize the amateurism that still exists in the administration of our Union.  Being told by the nominating chair that my thinking is ‘too operational in nature’ and the problems of “RIM, TRC, and PRO do not come under a Directors purview” took me a few weeks to come to grips with.  I’ve been now labelled as divisive, and progressing my own agenda.  All I’ve done is use my professional experience to ask reasonable questions about what drives USAR off the field, primarily around the financial issues, why we are in this tragic state, and what can we do about it. I’ve asked questions and received very few satisfactory answers.  What I do know is that predictions made 18 months ago regarding the financial wherewithal of TRC, and RIM are certainly coming true. Marni calls it divisive, I call it the truth.

Other articles I’ve written on this subject:



  1. Good on you TR. Keep breaking down barriers and fences that come before you. While I’m surprised a the recent success Mitchell had (he did assemble an effective coaching staff) you will be better off without him going forward. Canada and USA are actually handicapped by the foreign coaches….and I’m a Kiwi!

  2. For a stranger to say you would be ‘divisive’ when all you are doing is offering a plan, smacks of someone on the inside marking her card before you even started. If Payne were such a good buddy, as you think, you should be #2 today. How can it be possible that so many are totally useless? We are going nowhere fast…..as usual.

  3. I can see the recent uptick in results, but our win loss record is not that much better than years ago, we still need USA rugby to fully stand behind the grassroots rugby of mini/high school/college for long term development/success and pull from the current commercial success of the sevens program to benefit the Eagles. We possess a great amount of talented athletes in the country to vastly improve our 15’s program…need to figure out a plan how to achieve this target…

  4. Any $$ spent on the US Eagles coach beyond the bare minimum is a complete waste of scarce resources. You could appoint the world’s greatest rugby coach (Graham Henry, Eddie Jones, Steve Hansen, Wayne Smith, Jake White, etc.) and they would still suck relative to Tier 1 rugby nations. The reason they suck is not in the coaching and not in their lack of athletic ability but in their lack of rugby IQ. I submit to you that if the US Men’s Eagles were to compete in the upcoming World Rugby U20 championship in Georgia they would struggle to make the semi-finals and would likely be beaten by the Ireland, England, New Zealand and South Africa U20 sides!

    How can this be you say? How could a bunch of “kids” beat grown men? They are not kids for one thing (they will all feature front rowers averaging 115 kg) – and they all will have been playing competitive rugby for 10-15 years as their PRIMARY physical sport. All four teams will be comprised of young men that have been playing rugby since the age of 5 or 6, receiving their country’s very best coaching since they were identified as representative players at about age 9. All will have spent countless hours watching professional rugby on TV on a weekly basis for years and years. They will have been part of provincial touring sides competing and winning U13, U14, U15, U16 tournaments. Most, if not all, would have attended prestigious rugby high schools that offer the very best of competition and coaching – 20+ games a year, many starting for 3 years. The 1st XV high school rugby competition in NZ is the equivalent of the NCAA football system. The top kids being developed there are ready to turn pro the day they graduate. There are 6 top-level competitions across the country featuring 10+ teams that beat the crap out of each other for four months, and this is just at the 1stXV level. Most of these schools have upwards of 14 rugby teams!! The directors of rugby at the prestigious Auckland rugby schools earn more than $100k per year and have full-time staffs. Same for Waikato, Wellington and Christchurch. At Otago Boys and Southland Boys they don’t have enough local competition so their 1stXV’s complete in the Dunedin Metro Colts (U21) division and they win half their games! Go to EVERY single community in NZ on a Saturday morning from May through to August and you will see hundreds of kids playing rugby aged 5 to 12 in front of their mums, dads and grandparents. Think little-league baseball on steroids and that is what grass-roots rugby is like in NZ.

    My long-winded point here is that I don’t care how big, how fast or how athletic the US athletes are (and I agree that the US produces the very best athletes in the world). These same athletes simply do not have the rugby IQ it requires to compete at the International level. They will ALWAYS BE A STEP AND A THOUGHT BEHIND their better trained counterparts from the civilized rugby world. This rugby-nous can’t be taught by John Mitchell or Graham Henry or Eddie Jones. It is ingrained at a very early age and honed through years and years of competition and coaching. It is arrogant to think that the US athlete is so much bigger, stronger, faster to overcome this shortcoming.

    Go down the list of current Mens Eagles, how many have been playing competitive rugby for 15+ years and started playing at age 6? There’s maybe 5 or 6 and all of them from overseas!!!

    Take any “Joe” off the street to coach the Eagles and they will still get blasted at RWC2019 and 2023. Pump the crap out of flag rugby for the 5 & 6 year olds, get them started playing tackle at age 9 and watch the demand for high school rugby go through the roof. Get a good competitive high school eco-system up and running in the rugby centers of all 50 states and then the Universities will finally start to offer rugby athletic scholarships. This can maybe happen by 2027, more likely 2031.

    Jack Clark, with his ever-lessening rugby monopoly at Cal Berkeley, is probably the only guy making 100k+ coaching rugby in America. Get this increased to 2 or 3 dozen and rugby will have finally arrived in America.

    • I completely disagree with what you said about the bare minimum. The bare minimum got us a joke.

      The less resources you have, the better coach you need. So spending higher on salaries is ok. Just remember, the terms of Mitchell’s contract are similar to Friday’s. 250k and not required to live in the US. The only reason Friday is in residence so much is because of the demands of the HSBC 7s World Series.

      We would be a lot better if we recruited many more cross-over athletes. Because like it or not, the pool of tier 1 American Athletes playing Rugby is very small.

      • If USA Rugby had unlimited resources, then by all means go get the very best coach money can buy. But the fact is they are on the bones of their ass and that money is far better spent at the grass roots. No matter who the coach is, or however many cross-over athletes he can recruit – the US today is LIGHT YEARS behind the Tier 1 countries in terms of rugby speed and skill. No coach can fix that. If he has Steph Curry and Russell Westbrook at scrum/fly-half and LeBron James and Rob Gronkowski at locks they still get destroyed because the guys are too far behind the learning curve.

        Just last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Highlanders-Waratahs Super rugby match on the turf at Forsyth Barr stadium. The speed and precision both teams demonstrated was mind-boggling. If either one of these teams played the Eagles on the same turf the scoreline would be embarrassing.

        Find a way to watch the U20 world champs that are being played right now and you will see the deficit the US is facing. This is not a year or two project and it is certainly not something a “name” coach will solve. I’m talking a decade or more and that’s only if we get the 10 year olds up-skilled TODAY.

        The US is really in a tough position in terms of it’s Mens national team. You have to have one as kids need something to aspire to, but really – if you are looking to RWC2019 in Japan for some kind of progress and performance I must tell you to get ready for a blood bath. England, France and Argentina will wipe the floor with us.

        Our U18 team just lost to Spain and Portugal last month and this was a team that I thought had some skill. All these kids had to pay there own way over to Europe and some didn’t even get game time! Many of these kids (and their paying parents) came out of this tour pretty disillusioned with the whole affair. Don’t you think some of John Mitchell’s salary could have been better spent here to support these kids?

        One positive note is that the recently named U20 team finally has some young men from the elite collegiate teams of Cal & St. Mary’s and should be able to beat Canada to qualify for the World Rugby (minnows) Trophy in Uruguay later this summer.

        Baby steps and grass roots, the Eagles are the last place we should be looking at this point.

      • The last time the US had a team qualify for the U20 Champs was in 2013 (because in 2012 they won the U20 Trophy held in Salt Lake). They were finally in with the big boys and played three games. Lost 97-0 to South Africa, 45-3 to France, 109-0 to England.

        This is what we are up against and is an accurate assessment of where we currently stand on the rugby totem pole. These same players should form the core of our RWC2019 team. Do you really think that spending precious resources on coaching these guys is money well spent?

      • I thoroughly believe Mitchell’s salary was well spent. The previous regime coached conservative and didn’t have the respect of the players. Now, we can talk about resources, but half of Mitchell’s salary wouldn’t have done jack for the Union. It’s that bad.

        As far as the HSAA pay to play model I find it abhorrent. The model from the good idea fairy in my head is light years ahead of that idiocy. HSAA and regional select sides should not cost the athlete a dime. So a kid gets selected, he can’t go to camp unless he can pay for the camp, he can’t be selected for the tour unless he can pay for the tour. So I’m sure the parents of the HSAA side that toured Europe spent like 15k. 80% of HS Rugby players don’t have that kind of cash.

        We need the Eagles to be relevant, we need to market them, so we can make money. Not doing that will plunge the Union further into debt.

    • You have finally translated the Rosetta Stone of USA Rugby.I used to travel the world with superior athletes who had just taken up rugby compared to our opponents and get thumped at the international level because of “rugby IQ” but I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time, just that our opponents had been playing all of their lives and always seemed to be a step ahead of us (and this was 7s). We could beat some good teams sometimes but not consistent Cup victories. Up until now, I thought that just adding NFL dropouts would be enough. Now I think it will take NFL dropouts who have been playing rugby since they were 6. A seemingly tall order.

      • There’s a guy named Nehe Milner Skudder that plays for the Hurricanes and starred for the AB’s at RWC2015. Been out injured for a year now and I would suspect that virtually nobody in America has ever heard of him.

        Check out some of his highlights: https://youtu.be/7ekHkeTxX-8

        The US equivalent of this dude has not even been born yet – that is how far behind we are.

      • Bill. Our side has never been chalk full of “NFL Bodies.” If it were, I assure you that the results would look much different today had there been a healthy recruitment of former football players to the Eagles.

    • Just a word in for my passionate belief. USA Rugby’s prioritized first move towards eventual competitive status should be the college game. Well done collegiate programs can create the interests, coaches, next level players, and, most importantly, enriched graduates who will be better citizens for their exposure to our team game.

  5. Sorry to hear he hasn’t given 100% as I know the players and fans up there in the USA have been giving it their all over the last 5 years or so and making huge leaps in the numbers and quality of its players.

    He always was a bit of a dick.

    Hope you get someone way more committed to your cause, all the best !

    USA rugby supporter from down N.Z. — @MrRugbyTee

  6. I think Mitchell has done a fantastic job. The team looks a thousand percent better then the previous regime.

    As far as Mitchell being here or SA ? I’m in sales and as long as the numbers are good and everything is ethical then I’m ok. I don’t care if Mitchell lives in SA as long as the team is progressing and it’s gotten much better.

  7. I am an Australian and lived in the states now for 8 years helping to grow the game from rookie rugby to being a former head coach of a territorial union that one America’s first N.A.C.R.A title. It has taken me all this time to understand the systems, the people, and how the game is played and structured in America.

    Like Australia where I coached higher level youth rugby for many years, the demographics are similar. It is very hard to assemble select teams, the distances involved, the cost, and the lack of funding from our governing body for junior pathways are common denominators.

    I spent 8 years here in college, and I am about to attain my masters in sports management, (yeah I learned sport the American way with both my degrees) In that time I applied a lot of those learned principles to how I coach and administer this sport so I was familiarizing myself with the culture and beliefs of my players and peers.This coupled with 50 years in the sport as a player, referee, coach and administrator gave me a lot of skills sets to help better the game here.Not just a blow in coach, I made the effort to assimilate.

    So,with my qualifications and a lifetime commitment to this sport I went about applying for jobs all over the country at both college and club level, here is what transpired, and why I am so disenchanted with rugby stateside.

    I was interviewed for a coaching job with a high level woman’s team, took time out to run several training sessions and see if they liked what I did, they did, I was appointed, signed a contract and on my return to start duty they informed me they had gone another way and dumped me.
    The next instance involved a men’s club, again I was interviewed and basically given the job, a week out I get a Facebook message to say the interim coach now wants to stay and your services are not now required, after I traveled back from Australia for the position.

    Well, you wouldn’t believe this, another mate who was called in to help a club that he was previously involved with and to try and reinvent them asked me If I was interested in coming on as a coaching director. I said yes and things looked good for the appointment. So the former coach found out I maybe coming and gave my name to another club saying they were all good at his club and I might be a candidate.I told my mate and he immediately stepped down as a consultant to that club.

    The college scene is not much better,after applying for numerous Ivy League jobs, I think I got one response to say I had been unsuccessful, most didn’t even acknowledge my application. The army job came up and months later they say the funding has been pulled for the assistant position and I had to ask them where it was up too.

    I also applied for positions with USA rugby under Nigel Melville’s reign and never even got acknowledged that I was unsuccessful, let alone get an interview. Under his reign back in 2007 we brought a provincial Australian U18 on a goodwill development tour where we conducted coaching clinics wherever we traveled and exposed our skills and traits to the American rugby public.

    We were scheduled to play the US19’S team at the conclusion of that years territorial select tournament in Florida in front of the crowd and a live internet stream back home to the awaiting parents to watch their sons play the biggest game of their lives. So, get this,30 minutes before we are scheduled to play we get told they are breaking down the set and our game has been moved to a crappy training pitch down the road.We had previously been interviewed by the media providers, given them numbered team lists and had high expectations for the game to be beamed back home. The plug was pulled on the feed.

    One can only imagine the disappointment among the players, coaching staff and parents back home we had been treated this way as an international touring team. In all my years of coaching I have never seen such actions fire up a team like it did that day for a match. Unfortunately the referee did not set the tone early for discipline and the game got out of control. The first 1/2 was a blood bath with players being binned and one sent from the field. I removed two players from the field of play who continued with being overly aggressive early in the second stanza, the game settled down and turned into a good encounter.

    A few months after that tour some one from the opposing team decided to send an email to his friend in Australia to say we were a bunch of thugs and used intimidation during the game to win, he asked him to forward this on second hand to the Australian Rugby Union as a letter of complaint. Nothing official just a second hand complaint. We were then subsequently investigated by the ARU and provided a full comprehensive report to the national governing body and subsequently cleared of any wrong doing, but a letter of congratulations for what we had done for u18 rugby in regional areas.

    In reading your article and the long list of bad and meaningless decisions you mention, I just wanted to show people what is happening at the coal face, grass roots American playing fields, and why this sort of behavior festers and deters people from helping the cause here.

    You really nailed a lot of what is wrong. I have worked with Dan Payne, and have the greatest admiration for that guy and his quest to grow and improve how rugby is done in this country.

    I have since applied for one job in Europe and been appointed the technical director and head 7’s coach for the Austrian Rugby Federation. Sad to leave America after all those years of helping the rugby cause here.

  8. TRC sent a questionnaire out a while back, one of the questions was asking what other content should be add. Rugby League, AFL , Gaelic football. I think having league and AFL would be a big plus for them. With Toronto starting off in the low division, if they can secure 3rd and 2nd division league rights they could get a bump with fans wanting to watch the wolfpack and potential US based league teams also.

  9. Pingback: On USA Rugby Vision, Strategy 2020, RWC 2018/2027, Age Grade, HP audit, & more on the Board/RIM « Tony Ridnell

  10. Reblogged this on Tony Ridnell and commented:

    I wonder if the likes of Chairmen Chang and Keck, and Marni Vath watched the debacle of USA Rugby vs. Canada today. I doubt it, but if they did – perhaps they might note the horrific state our Union is in. Note, it is not about the players on the field – but the fact that over the past 10 years, and at this current time – have no viable vision, let alone a plan to support that vision. We are woefully mismanaged financially. What can we do with this rudderless ship? Anyone who takes away any significant positivity from today’s match for the USA should consider raising their standards and expectations.

  11. Pingback: A thought on USA Rugby: Does mediocre Board performance ultimately effect on field performance? « Tony Ridnell

  12. Pingback: I want to hear “The State of USA Rugby” from Chairmen Chang/Keck. Why not the CEO you ask?… « Tony Ridnell

  13. Pingback: Attn: USA Rugby & RIM: “Winning is EVERYTHING to a sponsor” & a Question of Confidence at RBEA. « Tony Ridnell

  14. Pingback: A Strong Request to the USA Rugby Congress: Tony Ridnell, Chairman « Tony Ridnell

  15. Get Eddie O’Sullivan back. Much of what he did during his tenure while heading up Ireland paid off for years after.

  16. Interesting in reading all of this I never read that the mighty dollar has a lot to answer for. If I am an athlete and I can go down a path that pays millions, why would I choose a path that is terribly rocky and pays nothing to play rugby in the USA? In my experience Lacrosse is far more organized in the youth ages than rugby. Until there are comprehensive youth programs USA rugby will not be anything on the world stage.

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