PRO Rugby in 2016
Rugby fans in North America, no doubt feeling rather mute over the performance of the Canadian and USA national teams in the 2015 Rugby World Cup (neither progressed through to the knock-out rounds) got a cheery pick-up from this week’s announcement by the Professional Rugby Organization (PRO Rugby). Starting from April next year, the region’s first professional league for rugby will get going with six USA teams from the Northeast, the Rocky Mountains and California. The exact location of the teams in the ten match season has not yet been revealed. It was, however announced that some Canadian teams will join in the action from 2017.
Rugby Union not Rugby League
For the avoidance of confusion this will be a professional rugby union league, not Rugby League, the alternative, excellent 13 man version of the game.
This has got to be a good move for rugby in North America, enabling players to develop to the national level via a track that doesn’t necessarily require them to play overseas in order to effectively compete with the top teams in the world.
Fastest growing team sport in the USA
The PRO Rugby launch, together with the inclusion of Rugby Sevens (male & female) in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil plus the new Americas Six Nations tournament (involving Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Uruguay and the USA) next spring will be sure to further promote what is already the fastest growing team sport in the USA.