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Major League Rugby

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby TheStroBro » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 03:00

So Toronto Wolfpack have generated attendance via comp tickets. something like 1/3 to 50% depending on who you ask.

Sabercats Sold 5,224; 130 additional comps. So as a percentage for the first match that's 97.57% paid attendance. You also have to remember most venues will not share revenue from concessions unless you've a history of selling out. That's just a one match sample, so it's hard to know what it looks like over time. But if they consistently sell over 4k tickets and somehow get stuck at Constellation Field the share of gate revenue will go 100% to the Sabercats. Currently Gate Revenues is a revenue share, because you have to rent the facility.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby ihateblazers » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 03:47

The issue isn't talent dilution, rather it's developing the businesses enough in order to afford players to fill spots. There's no shortage of talent they can bring from overseas and I imagine the league will lower it's foreign player restrictions as it continues to expand. American sports business is different to other countries, growing the market is as important as anything. I'm not sure using the Russian, romanian, Italian leagues are a good example to follow either...

If anything having more teams can only be a good thing for the US national team and grassroots. It gives more opportunities for Americans and also more aspirations for youngsters. The clubs are supposed to be developing academies so that Is a plus, add in the community engagement and ties with the college. The MLR could do what US rugby should be doing but doesn't have the reach or finances to be able to.

I agree that the league should settle at some point to review and let the market settle. If the teams are getting crowds of 3k+ and are able to afford players though there's no reason too not expand. Conferences on sports was created in the US so I don't see any issue if they go past 16 teams. Split the league into divisions.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby thatrugbyguy » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 04:09

Regarding the Wolfpack, I've seen a lot said about them giving away tickets. I don't know how accurate that is or where the source is for that, so for the moment I'm going to given them the benefit of the doubt and say it's genuine. However I think the thing that is going to be problematic for them in the long term is the lack of domestic opposition. I know there are allegedly plans underway for the RFL to get teams in the North East US but that's going to be at least a few years away from happening, and even then I'm skeptical there's enough foundations in place for that to succeed or if there's the talent in place to make it work.

The advantage Ontario and Vancouver are going to have next year is it's all domestic based and there are natural rivalries in place for both teams, not just with each other but for other teams close by. I don't know how much of the Wolfpack is just novelty and how much is genuine interest, all I know is being the lone club in a continent where the sport isn't that popular isn't going to be easy to run long term without some domestic support from other teams, especially if all the travel costs are coming out of pocket. Jaguares and Sunwolves can get away with it because the game has bigger enough following below their professional level.

I agree in thinking MLR shouldn't expand too quickly, but I also think the concerns about talent aren't warranted. There's an abundance of players worldwide that can fill in any gaps that might be missing domestically. In fact MLR is going to be a great chance for South Americans to ry and find work and we all know there's plenty of talent down there.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby TheStroBro » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 04:24

Supposedly there 4 Rugby League clubs in Ontario, but they only started playing in 2010...they've already contracted from 7 clubs. The Rugby league Canada has no contact info for three of the clubs, the three facebook groups don't even exist. No team pages, etc.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby ihateblazers » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 04:38

TheStroBro wrote:Supposedly there 4 Rugby League clubs in Ontario, but they only started playing in 2010...they've already contracted from 7 clubs. The Rugby league Canada has no contact info for three of the clubs, the three facebook groups don't even exist. No team pages, etc.


Knowing rugby league it's most likely 4 teams (not clubs) set up by rugby league Canada/ perez. You sign up for rugby league Canada then get allocated to a team or you choose the team etc.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby TheStroBro » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 04:50

Episode 18: Houston Sabercats Unhorse Seattle Saracens, ARC Training Squad, Player Signings and featuring Terry Kilbane of the Rugby City Podcast: https://soundcloud.com/earfulofdirt/ear ... ry-kilbane

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby cardiffrcm » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 07:20

TheStroBro wrote:
cardiffrcm wrote:Teams created from the squads SFGG/Life West/OC and NYAC/Old Blue would be the match of any of the existing MLR Clubs.

Not so fast, OB got bent over, twice by Glendale.


Yes, but add Brakeley, McKellar, Bennett, Kelly, Martina, McTiernan and McFarland from NYAC as well as 5 overseas players and it would be a different story.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby cardiffrcm » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 07:36

So many comments regarding expansion = dilution of talent.

This would not be the case as due to geography the talent has already be diluted.

It should be, expansion = encompassing all talent

It's not as if 5 new teams will all be in Texas.

The most likely 5 venues Ontario, BC, MY, Mid-West and NorCal have more than 5/12ths of the indigenous talent but no current MLR clubs.

When compared to European Clubs each of the likely 5 metropolitan locations for each, dwarf in size and wealth any British or French location that doesn't have a Pro Team and most that do.

How can it be said that Chicago, Toronto and New York are unviable, but Worcester and Llanelli are.

North American Rugby needs more self confidence and to reach for the stars.

The attendance at Houston last Saturday, whilst just a start, surely proves what is possible.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby RugbyLiebe » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 08:11

thatrugbyguy wrote:
TheStroBro wrote:Max Saturation of Leagues in North America tend to be about 30-32 teams. I think they're aim is to eventually have 24, I've heard it a few different ways. But our geography capital will allow the largest league in the world once we've grown the actual game itself.


US is unique in sport in terms of how many teams it can sustain. The question though is is it suitable for rugby? Even the largest rugby leagues around the world can only sustain about 16 teams. How does a 24 team format work for rugby that also has to accommodate several weeks of international play through out the season?


France has 30+ X pro teams. But if you mean the playing rounds: US sports do have a history of not having simple home-and-away-games against everyone. Americans won't complain as much as the Ozzies, Saffas and most of all Kiwis do about different formats. Don't see an issue there.
Last edited by RugbyLiebe on Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 12:04, edited 1 time in total.
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Look at the world ranking in July. Teams ranked 1-10 have to play one team from 11-20 (they don't play in a regular competition) away the next year. 11-20 play 21-30 away and so on. Yes, it really is that simple.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby jonny24 » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 11:53

I'm not worried about finding players either. The league is going to be creating more better players by giving them the environment to train and raise their level, as well by having academies and doing more in depth talent identification than the national and regional unions can do as amateurs.
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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Canadian_Rugger » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 14:42

thatrugbyguy wrote:Regarding the Wolfpack, I've seen a lot said about them giving away tickets. I don't know how accurate that is or where the source is for that, so for the moment I'm going to given them the benefit of the doubt and say it's genuine. However I think the thing that is going to be problematic for them in the long term is the lack of domestic opposition. I know there are allegedly plans underway for the RFL to get teams in the North East US but that's going to be at least a few years away from happening, and even then I'm skeptical there's enough foundations in place for that to succeed or if there's the talent in place to make it work.

The advantage Ontario and Vancouver are going to have next year is it's all domestic based and there are natural rivalries in place for both teams, not just with each other but for other teams close by. I don't know how much of the Wolfpack is just novelty and how much is genuine interest, all I know is being the lone club in a continent where the sport isn't that popular isn't going to be easy to run long term without some domestic support from other teams, especially if all the travel costs are coming out of pocket. Jaguares and Sunwolves can get away with it because the game has bigger enough following below their professional level.

I agree in thinking MLR shouldn't expand too quickly, but I also think the concerns about talent aren't warranted. There's an abundance of players worldwide that can fill in any gaps that might be missing domestically. In fact MLR is going to be a great chance for South Americans to ry and find work and we all know there's plenty of talent down there.


New York has been conditionally accepted in to the RFL beginning in 2019. Toronto Wolfpack giving away tickets was a BS story that was started by League fans in the M62 corridor who are upset about the Wolfpack, Toulouse, Catalans, New York, etc. Taking away their chances to reach super league.

Supposedly a second Canadian team is on the way, rumint is Hamilton or Montreal which would give Toronto immediate rivalry.

The Wolfpack are supposedly going to be starting to do some youth work this coming summer.

Super League teams have taken direct control of the League from the RFL and are meeting with Toronto and Toulouse about expanding the League.

I anticipate by 2020, we will see a Super League with 16-20 teams

M62 teams
Leeds
Wigan
St Helens
Wakefield
Hull KR
Hull FC
Salford
Castleford
Huddersfield
Warrington
Widnes
Leigh

Outside M62
London
Toronto
New York
Toulouse
Catalans
2nd Canadian team
Avignon (want to join the English League like Toulouse)
2nd American team

The Super League has come out and said they want to compete directly with the NRL.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby jonny24 » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 15:52

ihateblazers wrote:
TheStroBro wrote:Supposedly there 4 Rugby League clubs in Ontario, but they only started playing in 2010...they've already contracted from 7 clubs. The Rugby league Canada has no contact info for three of the clubs, the three facebook groups don't even exist. No team pages, etc.


Knowing rugby league it's most likely 4 teams (not clubs) set up by rugby league Canada/ perez. You sign up for rugby league Canada then get allocated to a team or you choose the team etc.


It's not exactly like that. I don't know too much about the two Toronto clubs, but Brantford is definitely a group of guys trying to build up their own club. I went out for Brantford for a bit a couple years ago, didn't stick with it since we had practice in Burlington at 10pm and all the games were in Toronto (also I suck at RL). When I was involved Brantford had enough players but Oakville and one of the TO didn't really have enough numbers, I had to play for them to help out. This year they ended up switching to "City vs Country" which was TO vs Not TO due to players.

I was told that when Brantford started, they had to last three years before they could run things completely on their own, ie things like choosing a home field. They had to go to TO for every game. I don't think there has ever been more than 4 teams at a time though, not sure where you're getting 7. Maybe 7 total from the ones that have folded- Niagara/Hamilton/St. Catharine's, Ottawa, and a few versions of TO teams?
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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Coloradoan » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 15:58

4N wrote:
Coloradoan wrote:
4N wrote:The talent pool for 12+ teams isn't there, and I'm pretty sure you guys know that. Some of this is fantasy. No one wants to watch beer gut props from club rugby and fifth choice Irish backs.


Aren't you all about the Toronto Wolfpack these days? Isn't the league equivalent of 5th choice Irish backs what they're all about?


That comparison seems like a stretch. They were third division last year so the talent pool is increasing as they get promoted. I know you don't really watch RL and find it "boring" like others on this thread, but players like Fuifui Moimoi and Ashton Sims (both forwards, granted) are well known. They have the money that they will have a top squad when they eventually reach Super League. Had they gone straight into SL they probably would already have done so, but the nature of proving that they belong alongside famous names like Wigan Warriors and St Helens is they have to show SL they are viable first. With crowds averaging 7k+ and widespread Toronto media coverage on their League 1 championship, they are off to a good start.


You're reaching here. On one hand you're castigating a potential 12+ team MLR for potentially having "beer gut props from club rugby and fifth choice Irish backs" while pumping a team that was full of these types. Whether or not the Wolfpack have a better squad in the future is mostly irrelevant. That you've pointed to a 38 year old Fuifui Moimoi and a 32 year old Ashton Sims as the best of the bunch only further reinforces that. You've been really eager to talk up the Wolfpack and talk down MLR. What's the deal with that?

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Tobar » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 16:39

cardiffrcm wrote:How can it be said that Chicago, Toronto and New York are unviable, but Worcester and Llanelli are.


In long term, definitely. But in the short term there are far fewer high quality players available. The issue we are possibly seeing is that there will be too many expansion teams too quickly and there will be a dip in the overall talent pool. I believe MLS had this issue. We can resurge very strongly but this is just something important to keep in mind.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Suiram » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 16:50

If these teams are viable in terms of their market/metro talent is less of an issue. As others have said, signing overseas players is not an issue. Just look at what MLR teams have already done.

As another example look at the NHL. The US does not produce nearly enough top tier hockey players to support the size of the league on the supply side, but has more than enough hockey fans to provide the demand. So the best European, Canadian, and Russian players are here.

I would agree that expansion should go relatively slowly (adding 20 teams in 2 years is too fast). But non-US case studies are not always relevant. As others said, US fans are not going to get angry about not having home and away with every team. Divisions & Conferences are normal and expected.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby rusty_lock » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 16:59

Seems like it is official now. Exciting times!

http://theprovince.com/sports/rugby/van ... e-new-fans

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby 4N » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 17:56

Coloradoan wrote:You're reaching here. On one hand you're castigating a potential 12+ team MLR for potentially having "beer gut props from club rugby and fifth choice Irish backs" while pumping a team that was full of these types. Whether or not the Wolfpack have a better squad in the future is mostly irrelevant. That you've pointed to a 38 year old Fuifui Moimoi and a 32 year old Ashton Sims as the best of the bunch only further reinforces that. You've been really eager to talk up the Wolfpack and talk down MLR. What's the deal with that?


You're a Glendale guy, I get it. Not trying to pour cold water on anyone's hard work. Just saying for my money I would prefer to watch a product like TWP. And given that I don't live anywhere near any MLR teams and Toronto is a lot closer to where I grew up, it's more likely that I would attend a Wolfpack game at some point. Been to Toronto a few times, great city.

Moimoi is still a beast at 38! And Sims was good for Fiji at the RLWC.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Tobar » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 18:02

Suiram wrote:Keep in mind that the league will see competition to join as a good thing. There may very well be more teams that want to join than MLR decides are spots. I expect during the year they will do some analysis and think about how many teams they want to join in a year. It may 5 be but it could also be 3, with 2 more for 2020.

Setting up a competitive process would make sense. It would require any team to present a business plan and competition plan as well as show stronger financial backing.


Ideally, I'd like to see something like MLS with USL/NASL teams in the sense that a city creates a semi-pro team in the city with professional ambitions and then they get promoted to MLS. Obviously there are differences between the leagues and it would have to wait a couple of years until the league develops out of semi-pro.

I would like to see the league get to 12-15 and then slow down in expansion for a bit to increase quality. At this point 5-10 years down the line, salaries will hopefully be able to increase and the teams can be truly full time professionals. This is where amateur clubs can take on a semi-pro atmosphere similar to what some of the MLR clubs were doing before MLR (specifically Glendale). They would still be amateur and pay match fees but would focus at least a little bit on marketing and bringing in fans so you can get a couple hundred per game. Then when a spot opens in MLR they can bid on it and get accepted based on their business plan.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Buffalo » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 18:03

Suiram wrote:If these teams are viable in terms of their market/metro talent is less of an issue. As others have said, signing overseas players is not an issue. Just look at what MLR teams have already done.

As another example look at the NHL. The US does not produce nearly enough top tier hockey players to support the size of the league on the supply side, but has more than enough hockey fans to provide the demand. So the best European, Canadian, and Russian players are here.


Fun but unrelated fact, the National in the NHL refers to Canada not America though it is now primarily an American based league. The NHL started off as an, I believe, exclusively Canadian league before expanding to the Great Lakes and North East USA. And Canada still produces almost 50% of all the players in the league, as well as a good amount of foreign players in leagues world wide, though it's dipped under the 50% mark in the NHL for the first time ever like last season.

But yes there should be enough talent in America and Canada to support 12 teams with all the markets presently untouched by MLR. As said earlier in the thread, the majority of Canada, Northern California, the MidWest/Great Lakes, the North East and Atlantic regions of the USA are fairly untouched. And if the salaries increase over time they can definitely expand the player pool by signing some young or journeyman T1s or Islanders to compliment the local populations. If they were shooting for a league of 16-24 right away it might be a lot more of a pressing concern.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby sk 88 » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 19:16

Canadian_Rugger wrote:
New York has been conditionally accepted in to the RFL beginning in 2019. Toronto Wolfpack giving away tickets was a BS story that was started by League fans in the M62 corridor who are upset about the Wolfpack, Toulouse, Catalans, New York, etc. Taking away their chances to reach super league.

Supposedly a second Canadian team is on the way, rumint is Hamilton or Montreal which would give Toronto immediate rivalry.

The Wolfpack are supposedly going to be starting to do some youth work this coming summer.

Super League teams have taken direct control of the League from the RFL and are meeting with Toronto and Toulouse about expanding the League.

I anticipate by 2020, we will see a Super League with 16-20 teams

M62 teams
Leeds
Wigan
St Helens
Wakefield
Hull KR
Hull FC
Salford
Castleford
Huddersfield
Warrington
Widnes
Leigh

Outside M62
London
Toronto
New York
Toulouse
Catalans
2nd Canadian team
Avignon (want to join the English League like Toulouse)
2nd American team

The Super League has come out and said they want to compete directly with the NRL.



I'll believe that when I see it.

League has always been big on chat and ideas, meanwhile in 123 years they have not even managed to establish a team in Sheffield which is 30 miles from where it was founded and is a city of half a million people (not including areas like Rotherham as Sheffield).

Maybe this time will be different, at least Toronto has been made to do it properly rather than just be parachuted into the top division.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby cardiffrcm » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 19:32

Tobar wrote:
cardiffrcm wrote:How can it be said that Chicago, Toronto and New York are unviable, but Worcester and Llanelli are.


In long term, definitely. But in the short term there are far fewer high quality players available. The issue we are possibly seeing is that there will be too many expansion teams too quickly and there will be a dip in the overall talent pool. I believe MLS had this issue. We can resurge very strongly but this is just something important to keep in mind.


But the existing 7 MLR teams have taken very few players from the North-East, Chicago area or NorCal. Their squads taken from local clubs, college grads, Eagles returning from overseas and 5 overseas players should be the match of the existing teams. 12 teams should be doable, thereafter growth should be slow and steady.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby TheStroBro » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 19:36

Buffalo wrote:
Fun but unrelated fact, the National in the NHL refers to Canada not America though it is now primarily an American based league. The NHL started off as an, I believe, exclusively Canadian league before expanding to the Great Lakes and North East USA. And Canada still produces almost 50% of all the players in the league, as well as a good amount of foreign players in leagues world wide, though it's dipped under the 50% mark in the NHL for the first time ever like last season.

But yes there should be enough talent in America and Canada to support 12 teams with all the markets presently untouched by MLR. As said earlier in the thread, the majority of Canada, Northern California, the MidWest/Great Lakes, the North East and Atlantic regions of the USA are fairly untouched. And if the salaries increase over time they can definitely expand the player pool by signing some young or journeyman T1s or Islanders to compliment the local populations. If they were shooting for a league of 16-24 right away it might be a lot more of a pressing concern.


Yeah well, HQ is staying in New York, so who cares. It's just a brand name.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Buffalo » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 21:27

TheStroBro wrote:
Buffalo wrote:
Fun but unrelated fact, the National in the NHL refers to Canada not America though it is now primarily an American based league. The NHL started off as an, I believe, exclusively Canadian league before expanding to the Great Lakes and North East USA. And Canada still produces almost 50% of all the players in the league, as well as a good amount of foreign players in leagues world wide, though it's dipped under the 50% mark in the NHL for the first time ever like last season.

But yes there should be enough talent in America and Canada to support 12 teams with all the markets presently untouched by MLR. As said earlier in the thread, the majority of Canada, Northern California, the MidWest/Great Lakes, the North East and Atlantic regions of the USA are fairly untouched. And if the salaries increase over time they can definitely expand the player pool by signing some young or journeyman T1s or Islanders to compliment the local populations. If they were shooting for a league of 16-24 right away it might be a lot more of a pressing concern.


Yeah well, HQ is staying in New York, so who cares. It's just a brand name.

I wasn't trying to make a big deal of it but since you asked, the country of 35 million that keeps the NHL afloat financially and provides the most hockey talent globally might care just a bit since there's no NHL without Canada. It's not anywhere near the relationship Canada has with actual American leagues like the NBA, MLB and MLS.

But to get us back on topic, the Prairie Wolf Pack are preparing weekly ID and training sessions starting this month to prepare for a friendly in April against the Utah Warriors down in Salt Lake City. Will be a good test to see if an Alberta based MLR team would have the talent level to compete in the future. Assuming the Wolf Pack actually starts picking players based on merit and talent level instead of who happens to be friends with the coaches and management.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby TheStroBro » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 23:23

I was being cheeky. Now this would be a cool development!

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Buffalo » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 23:51

TheStroBro wrote:I was being cheeky. Now this would be a cool development!


I'm a patriotic asshole who's s big hockey fab. I'm easily triggered haha.

Ya it would be cool to get some more friendlies for the CRC teams to see how they measure up. The four regions jumping to MLR and the senior CRC dying would be the best choice for Canadian rugby if they can find the investors. The Arrows are pretty much the Blues under a new banner and are doing that already. And with Vancouver pretty much guaranteed it would be smart for the BC Bears to get some games in preparation it they aren't already. The Prairie WP and Atlantic Rock are probably a lot further away than the other two both financially, logistically and talent depth but I would still like to see them playing some friendlies until they can get it together and MLR is ready for them.

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