Saturday 1 October 2016

USA Rugby reveal interest in the creation of a Pro12 franchise in the states

Published 28/07/2016 | 13:50

Could we see an American team in the Pro12 in the near future?
Could we see an American team in the Pro12 in the near future?

The formation of a rugby club in North America to compete in the Guinness Pro12 seems very ambitious but USA Rugby believe that it could be on the cards.

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IRFU chief executive Philip Browne had mentioned in recent weeks that an expansion into the American market was being considered as the Pro12 look to keep pace with the revenues being generated by the Aviva Premiership and the French Top 14.

While the logistics appear to be daunting, USA Rugby’s chairman Bob Latham believes the formation of a franchise in America's eastern seaboard is possible.

“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.

"I’m not sure if we have any preconceived notions over how best to make it happen.

“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.”

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