A new elite-level club competition is coming to America
The new-found competition has not explicitly stated its intentions
Initially, a group of five teams forming the ‘Major Rugby Championship’, the group has now expanded to nine with plans to begin formally under the ‘Major League Rugby’ name in 2018.
Reported by America Rugby News, the premium place for rugby updates across the pond, the new-found competition has not explicitly stated its intentions to become fully professional, some of the members are already paying their players, most notably the Austin Huns.
The full list of participating clubs (and management entities) is as follows:
Austin Huns (Huns Rugby Management)
Chicago Lions (Chicago Lions Professional Rugby)
Dallas Griffins (DFW Major Rugby)
Glendale Raptors (1924 Rugby)
Kansas City Blues (Blues Rugby Management)
New Orleans RFC (NOLA Rugby Enterprises)
Rugby Utah (Rugby Utah Ventures)
Seattle Saracens (Seattle Rugby LLC)
One of the nine clubs set to take part in the new Major League Rugby competition starting in 2018 has even started to tease fans with snippets of information via its Facebook page
Of all the clubs named the Houston Strikers are perhaps the most interesting as they do not currently exist. That has not stopped them from making a brief public statement:
1. Strikers are in process of recruiting a head coach.
2. Strikers are interviewing stadium contractors.
3. Strikers will build stadium in sustainable phases.
4. Phase 01 renderings will be posted soon.
5. Strikers have committed to Major League Rugby (MLR).
6. Strikers will field a MLR team in 2018.
A model image of a proposed 11,000 seat stadium – with two additional rugby-specific fields adjacent the stadium – has already been posted on their page as well as a logo.
It’s unclear at this time how this will affect the future of PRO Rugby, which remains sanctioned as the exclusive professional domestic 15-a-side competition despite currently having no players or coaches on contract, and no immediate plans for a 2017 season.