"Second Team in Two Weeks" - New York Rugby Folds Ahead of 2024 MLR Season - Ruck

“Second Team in Two Weeks” – New York Rugby Folds Ahead of 2024 MLR Season

Rugby New York are reportedly set to become the latest Major League Rugby side to fold. The Iron Workers are expected to join the Toronto Arrows in their financial collapse, ahead of the 2024 MLR season. The latest reports are that a long-term deal regarding ownership of the club has fallen through.

This is devastating news for the league, as Rugby New York are former champions of the division. The club lifted the iconic silver shield back in 2022, which coincided with the league withdrawal of LA Gilintis, another former MLR Champion. Rugby New York become the second team to fold ahead of the upcoming 2024 MLR season, with the league’s participants reduced from 13 to 11 teams.

Rugby New York joined the MLR in 2019 as Rugby United New York, and underwent a series of name changes throughout their short tenure in the division. The NYC side failed to ever capture a strong audience, with their triumphant play of final victory played in front of just 2,000 people, in New Jersey’s Red Bull Arena.

Rugby Americas News reported that there were numerous high profile players from across the league, were linked with moves to New York in the past few weeks.

“Among a handful of New Zealanders linked with moves to New York in recent weeks were former All Blacks Aaron Cruden and Charlie Faumuina. Tom Franklin and Nate Augspurger were expected to join from San Diego, and Chris Mattina from Chicago. Uruguay lock Felipe Aliaga had agreed a transfer from Super Rugby Americas champions Peñarol.”

Aaron Cruden of Barbarians during the The Killik Cup Match between Barbarians and World XV at Twickenham Stadium on 28 May 2023. Photo: Izzy Ninnis/PPAUK

As was the result of the Toronto Arrows players, the Rugby New York players will likely be entered into a draft to determine their new clubs. The MLR’s centralised contract system was established as a solution to clubs folding in the league’s infancy, with the now ‘free agent’ Rugby New York players set to move to their new clubs across the league ahead of the 2024 season. However, with most clubs reaching their player capacity, the MLR may look to make altercations to the salary cap, in order to keep the former Rugby New York players in the league.