USA Rugby are very interested in joining the Guinness PRO 12 according to Chairman Bob Latham
Philip Browne, the Irish Rugby Football Union CEO, said last week that the PRO12 are considering a plan to expand the league into the U.S.
Bob Latham, USA Rugby’s chairman, says various obstacles will have to be overcome
USA Rugby are “very interested” in holding discussions over adding an East Coast-based team to the Guinness PRO12
Bob Latham, USA Rugby’s chairman, says various obstacles will have to be overcome if the dream ever comes to fruition, but is keen to look into the possibility of an American franchise joining the PRO12.
“We’re certainly very interested but we need to take a realistic look at the feasibility of it and we haven’t crossed that fundamental step yet,” Latham told ESPN.
“Those discussions are at a very early stage but we would certainly look at that and see if it makes sense.
“When we receive interest of that kind it is somewhat flattering that people want to enter the market here and we are interested in taking a look at anything that grows and encourages interest in the sport.”
The Premiership have already staged a match in the U.S. when London Irish hosted Saracens last season in New York while the All Blacks played the Eagles in Chicago back in 2014.
Latham believes the East Coast would be the natural fit for a potential franchise but there are a variety of factors to take into consideration.
“I’m not sure if we have any preconceived notions over how best to make it happen,” Latham said.
“There will be travel issues so the East Coast makes sense but if you look at the timing of the PRO12 competition, it can be difficult to play in the North East part of the USA at that time of year.
“We have to balance the factor of where fans will turn out, where the weather will be conducive, where there’s a likely fan base as well as the travel issues.”