Rugby breaking through in the USA? Don’t hold your breath!
WORLD Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper spoke in Los Angeles the other day about the possibility of America staging the 2027 World Cup. Those students of the global game who have grown old waiting for Uncle Sam to announce himself as a serious player on a universal scale have heard it all before.
It reminded me of what Jack Clark, then head coach of the Eagles, told World Rugby’s forerunner, the IRB, at a conference in Vancouver on ‘The Globalisation of World Rugby’.
“US Rugby is now ready to converge with the American passion for sports to produce a major new sport,’’ Clark told delegates. “I could not have said that a few years ago because our organisation was still finding its way and rugby itself was not ready for the US market.
“Happily today rugby is ready and that can mean a big break in the American sports entertainment market. And when you get a break in the US market, it’s a very big break indeed.’’
The Conference took place on October 13, 1998. Twenty years on, the world is still waiting for American rugby to get even a modest break in the US market, let alone a big one.