USA coach calls for American Pro12 franchise

‘Playing in a global competition, something like Pro12, would be superb’

USA outhalf AJ MacGinty passes the ball during Ireland’s win in New Jersey. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

USA outhalf AJ MacGinty passes the ball during Ireland’s win in New Jersey. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

US Eagles coach John Mitchell believes an American franchise in the Pro12 “needs to happen” if there is to be any progress for rugby in the land of free and the home of the brave.

“A centralised programme would help these guys,” said Mitchell, the former All Black coach, after Ireland’s 55-19 victory in New Jersey.

“Playing in a global competition, something like Pro12, where there is an audience both in America and Britain and Ireland would be superb.

“But domestically, Sevens, College and Britain and France (clubs); all the players arrive at different levels.

“I think (the Pro12) has to happen for USA Rugby. We are a huge country but we are still a very small dot in rugby terms.

“Yeah, we can (compete without European based players). We’ve got a model in place that we have swapped. Since I started a year and a half ago we had 70 per cent players overseas and 30 per cent at home. We’ve swapped that. Some of the unavailable guys possibly wouldn’t have made it as the speed of the game out there possibly wasn’t something they could deliver.”

Essentially, he added, it comes down to resources.

Mitchell cited his “family reasons and for the good of my career” for the decision to join the Bulls franchise in South Africa next season.

“Everywhere I have left a sustainable model, there should be no difference here.”

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