The USA Eagles may have the chance to improve and grow before the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.
On Wednesday the International Rugby Board (IRB) announced that the competitive nations outside of the world’s top 10 –eternally referred to as Tier Two –would be afforded more of a shop window. With recent summer tours from the likes of Scotland heading into Fiji and Samoa it has come as almost a shock to the cobweb covered establishment that rugby can move with the times.
Chairman of the IRB Bernard Lapasset recently said: “This is an exciting development for the global Game. The IRB is committed to facilitating an annual international competition schedule for our Tier Two Unions and these matches will be crucial to ensuring that there is increased competitiveness on the global stage and at Rugby World Cup 2015.”
Lapasset continued, “There will be an unprecedented number of international fixtures across Europe in November, which will give sports fans a taste of what to expect in 2015 when England hosts the world’s top 20 nations for Rugby World Cup.”
The IRB also released a statement on the same day which spoke of the second tier’s games in the inaugural IRB International Rugby Series:
“Canada (IRB world ranking no.13), Russia (19), Samoa (10), Tonga (12) and USA (17) will play tests over two match days on November 9 and 17 and with some of the world’s most exciting players set to feature.”
What this means is that the likes of the USA Eagles will play rugby in one of the games hotbeds, Wales, this November. International cameras will be on them and they will be able to assess where they and their players are before World Cup 2015.
The Eagles will also get to spread their wings, with a historic first ever trip to Romania scheduled. There may even be the chance for USA to visit Namibia in the near future.
Such European tours during November are a must for the biggest nations in the sport. New Zealand, Australia and South Africa will all be flying over. It ensures their Tier One status and it shows the world the best the game can offer.
USA will want to grow enough to be able to one day play against Tier One sides in November. They already have a full-time Rugby Sevens side that tours the world, and this will be heavily invested in before the sport takes its bow at the Rio Olympics, 2016.
If the USA’s 15-a-side team get the same level of investment and interest, they could go from having encounters with Tier One teams like this…
…and instead evolve into a side that could, like Argentina, break into the top Tier and stand out. Playing the New Zealand All Blacks regularly would be pretty cool, right?