We could be seeing the breakthrough of elite rugby at a club level in the USA. That is certainly the plan of Michael A. Clements, Founder and Managing Partner, RugbyLaw LLC, the legal and business entity who are setting up the National Rugby Football League (NRFL).
The announcement that the Leicester Tigers will play the inaugural Independence Cup game in Philadelphia, will mark the first elite club level game in the United States. It also shows that NFL franchises have a real interest in the sport succeeding, as the game is being played at the Philadelphia Eagles ground, Lincoln Financial Field.
"We are excited to showcase the inaugural Independence Cup at Lincoln Financial Field this summer," said Eagles President Don Smolenski. "This match kicks off the first rugby game for an elite US team, the Rough Riders, against a historic rugby stalwart, the Leicester Tigers."
The match will act as an appetiser for the NRFL, which is slated for a 2016 start with 6-12 elite clubs, playing during the NFL off season in the Spring and Summer.
The Independence Cup is scheduled for August 8th 2015 and the league proper will come not long after this Autumn’s Rugby World Cup. Whilst the American Eagles are in a tough group there are opportunities for them to win, not least in the last of all group stage games to be played, against Japan on Sunday 11th October at 8pm.
Hopefully interest in rugby states side can be carried through from the Rugby World Cup, which is the second largest single sport event in the World, and where tickets for rugby world cup final are at a premium.
The creation of an elite club level in North America has to be of interest to rugby fans across the World as it should help increase the competitiveness of the national sides making for more interesting tournaments at international level in years to come.
For more information about the NRFL go to http://www.nationalrugbyfootballleague.com