Watch out New Zealand, watch out England, watch out Australia, South Africa and all the others that consider themselves Rugby World Cup contenders.
After exiting the 2015 World Cup winless, the United States might be prepared to do to rugby football what they did to Olympic Basketball in 1992.
They have sent the signal that it is time to do a little wallet flexing, get serious about rugby football, and move past the amateur stage.
Back in 2015, the CEO of USA Rugby, a certain Nigel Melville, was heard to say, “One of the things that we know is that to be in the top eight [teams in the world], we need a fully professional team. All the teams with amateur players failed to make the top 8 — Georgia, Namibia, Canada, Romania — and even some of those with fully professional teams did not make it. This has to continue to be a focus moving forward.”
Some yanks might consider Melville’s words sacrilegious, expressing satisfaction as he did, for a top-eight squad.
It is not as though they have not used pros previously.
Of the 31 they sent in 2015, 20 were players for hire.
The Yanks could simply buy New Zealand and make it the 51st state. Instead of the All Blacks, they could call it the All Red, Whites and Blues.
Someone would have to show them the location of New Zealand on the map, however, as simply saying, “That little island east of Australia,” would leave many lost.
There was an attempt to establish professional rugby football in the U.S. in 2015, but none of the billionaires was interested in the Professional Rugby Organization, but it would appear as though Major League Rugby is taking hold.
We would suggest they contact Jarryd Hayne, but it would take many lawyers, something lacking in the U.S., to get him in, as there would be many allegations of mischief targeted at him the moment he stepped off the plane.
If those blokes get serious and cease stocking rugby clubs with failed gridiron players, it would not be out of the realm of reality for multiple Rugby World Cups to find a trophy case in the U.S.