From the U.S. men’s and women’s national teams to the boardroom to meet, from the grassroots of the American Games to Capitol Hill, the response to the women’s event awards at the Men’s Rugby World Cup 2031 and 2033 was the same.
New Tapper, a Sevens Olympian, and 15s Eagles Wing have spoken out for many: “I think it shows the growth of the sport and how far it has come – and how far we have to go.”
The American Rugby Union is celebrating, but hard work is ahead.
“It’s great to know that I can participate in a huge rugby event like the World Cup in the United States,” said Tapper, who ran the track in high school and then found rugby at North Carolina College.
“But we need to focus more on the sport, which will lead to more players and the depth of the pool and enable men to get more professional, more professional rugby leagues, not just national teams or MLRs.”
Tapper and Perry Baker, two-time World Player of the Year, are part of the Premier Rugby Sevens, a start-up where men and women play for equal pay and compete for a prize. Looking ahead to the 15-a-side World Cup, its chief executive, Wayne Scannell, said the PR7 could help increase the “domestic audience and professional level path, especially in women’s sport.”
Baker echoed Tapper, saying the World Cup must be used to help more young Americans find the game, as he did with the Daytona Beach Coconuts in Florida, but also provide a clear path to the top.
“Remember the Olympics will be here in 2028,” Baker said, pointing to Los Angeles, where there will be seven games. “So the limits of the sky.”
American rugby lovers, alas, know the limits very well. From high school to college, from amateurs to major league rugby professionals, clubs struggle with poor facilities and money, harsh winters that divide the season into two, and travel demands that challenge even the most dedicated team.
Tapper said the game is needed for 11- to 13-year-olds to enter high school. Others said elementary schools were prizes.
Blaine Schulz, a former Eagles Wing and captain who played for Leicester and Cardiff in the UK, says US rugby needs a way for “everyone.” One can join a team [and] be a player, coach, referee, or fan for the rest of his life. ”
Bob Kimmit rugby has enjoyed a long life in business and government. He played at West Point in the 1960s, a year when the game had a weak hold, and helped establish the Washington Irish Club. He also served as an under-secretary in the US Treasury, an ambassador to Germany, and an independent director in Meta, formerly known as Facebook.
Predicting an increase in attention from such big business, Kimitt said the World Cup award “shows that the renaissance of rugby, revival at club level, college level and most importantly now at the professional level has been very fruitful in the last 50 years.” The impact that the 1994 World Cup had on American football. ”
Dan Lyle, another former Eagles captain, played at No. 6 for Bath and Leicester in England. He is now a director of AEG, a sports and entertainment giant.
He said: “There is no legacy of football in America. The United States has no history of sports.” These were claims by some FIFA executives and journalists who supported Morocco or Brazil in the 1994 World Cup.  A World Cup that attracted more than 68,900 3.5 million fans per match in 52 games, a record that still stands today.
“Why would the United States rise? Simply put, it’s about the sheer aspirations that America has in abundance, supported by its natural resources of diversity, gender equality, respect, athleticism, and inclusion. ”
That is the vision. Lyle said the hard work would require involvement in the “after-school program with the American Sports Complex, Scholastic, Collegiate and Professional Leagues, Ownership, Public / Private Enterprise and more,” so the “Department of Parents, Parks and Resi Athletic directors, broadcasters, brand managers and stadium GMs, with thousands of boys and girls, can learn rugby not just bypassing, but by permanently. ”
‘We can compete with fierceness and dignity.’
Joe Biden, a rugby fan, supported the U.S. bid. The Guardian could not speak to the president, but it did find supportive voices in Washington.
Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat at the Washington DC House and a vice president of the Congressional Rugby Caucus, said: Social skills. ”
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy said from the other side of the Capitol: “I was first introduced to rugby at Williams [College], and although I wasn’t perfect, I loved the game and had been friends for a lifetime.”
Murphy and Holmes Norton said they were excited about the World Cup. HR McMaster also welcomed the news. The retired general, Donald Trump’s second national security adviser, is known for his game love.
Describing rugby as “one of the best-known sports globally, more exciting and safer than American football,” McMaster said: “I hope that as Americans learn about rugby, the game will inform our political and social discourse.
“We can compete fiercely and with dignity. We all have our roles, and there is no limit to what we can achieve if we work together. And even ESPN will broadcast more rugby instead of the dart, cornhole, and poker. ”
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Covid has no bias, but the U.S. national teams have fought the most recently; the men have shipped 104 points to the All Blacks, and the women have scored 89 points in England. The women will be hoping for a better World Cup in New Zealand this year, but the men have yet to qualify for France 23. To avoid a last-chance playoff, they will have to beat Chile this summer.
Nick Civetta, the Eagles’ second-line forward from Scarsdale, New York, who has played for Newcastle, Doncaster, and Oxford University, said: “Our goal this summer is to focus on qualification, which is no small task.”
He added: “The opportunity to invest in all game levels that could come alongside the World Cup certainly surprises the average American rugby player accustomed to that rugby is never a ‘mind’ game.”
Major League Rugby, the competition where Civetta plays for New York, is in its fifth season. Its pay is not big, and it does not have a significant presence in the mainstream media. Matt McCarthy has covered it through his rugby wrap-up site and podcasts. He said World Rugby’s “huge, game-changing investment in high schools, colleges, clubs, men’s and women’s, seven and 15” would also “secure the future of Major League Rugby as a fully professional men’s 15 competition.”
“The establishment of the Pro League in Japan in the years before the 2019 World Cup shows that the world of rugby knows what will happen. Now that the World Cup is coming to America, the MLR cannot be allowed to fail.
Don’t argue with George Kilibru. He is the MLR commissioner, working outside of Texas.
He said: “If you remember, [before the 1994 World Cup] it was more like, ‘If we bring the game to the United States, a professional league will be born,’ which happened to Major League Soccer. Our case is just the opposite. If we can add one or two teams a year in the next nine years, we will be a 28-team league in all major markets in this country and Canada when the game comes.
“If you look at the United States as measured by Nielsen, we’re in seven of the top 10 markets, and all of our teams run camps and clinics, have academy programs, and have relationships with colleges in that city. So I think we’re ready to be one of the main contributors to the rise of rugby in North America. ”
The New England Free Jax has the best record of 7 in the MLR this year. Their chief executive is Alex Magleby, the former Eagles Flanker.
“A lot of work has been done to get to this stage,” he said, “sometimes in silos, perhaps. Now we can all go behind this pace with a specific timeline for success.”
‘The stars of 2031 and 2033 never touched a ball.’
In Dublin, Alan Gilpin, chief executive of World Rugby, said significant investments were coming. It has floated half a billion dollars before. In the announcement, Victoria Folayan, a US Sevens player who became a member of the USA Rugby Board, said that women’s games would have equal access to all such funds.
In August 2020, USA Rugby went bankrupt. McCarthy said: “The big concern is that any funding is allocated with strict purpose and accuracy. We have an impressive record of doing that in America to this day.
Others had similar concerns. Lara Vivolo, formerly Eagles Prop, now coaches women’s teams, including the New York Rugby Club and Greenwich High School, says: “As a PE teacher, I teach about 400 students a year. There need to be resources, equipment, and coaches who can push the elementary school and teach PE teachers about sports. ”
Former Eagles fly-half Matt Sherman is the head coach of the men’s national collegiate champion Army West Point. The World Cup “presented a great opportunity and a great challenge. The challenge is to grow rugby properly to be well presented and accelerated. But I think the World Cup if we don’t do that.” If he can build up, then it will not affect his ability.
“If we invest a lot in youth and high school growth and build a good fanbase that supports a great event, I think we will get more attention from college athletics. Administrators see the value of the sport and want to invest more in it. ”
Sherman’s Army team is well funded. Others, less so.
Kirill Guthrie, a former college player, James G. Robertson, and Clive Sullivan, president of the Rugby Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aims to increase participation among blacks and Native Americans, and people of other races.
He said: “The rugby community has recognized rugby as the fastest growing sport in the United States. But for many of us working at the grassroots level, this growth feels lazy, stagnant, and one-sided. Finding funds, patronage, and support for teams outside the insular rugby community is frustrating, challenging, and sometimes soul-crushing.
“I hope that support for the Rugby World Cup will return to the less visible rugby community, such as the inner-city youth team and historically at black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
“It is possible that the Eagles’ 2031 and 2033 World Cup stars have never touched a ball before today. I look forward to actively supporting USA Rugby in providing youth rugby grassroots funding, accessible camps and training, and engaging with various rugby communities. ”
Katherine Aversano, a female trainer at Howard University, an HBCU in Washington, D.C., echoed Guthrie’s concerns.
He said: “The leadership of RWC ’31 and ’33 will be the biggest test of the ability of the American rugby community to come together and extend the game to traditionally excluded people. If we do it right, all grassroots efforts will succeed.”
“I hope that support for the Rugby World Cup will return to the less visible rugby community, such as the inner city youth team and historically in black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
“It’s possible that the Eagles’ 2031 and 2033 World Cup stars have never touched a ball before today. I look forward to actively supporting USA Rugby through youth rugby grassroots funding, accessible camps training, and involvement with various rugby communities.”
Katherine Aversano, a female trainer at Howard University, an HBCU in Washington, D.C., echoed Guthrie’s concerns.
He said: “The leadership of RWC ’31 and ’33 will be the biggest test of the American rugby community’s ability to come together and extend the game to traditionally excluded people. If we do it right, all grassroots efforts will succeed.”