The Scottish Rugby Union has taken close to a 30% stake in Old Glory DC, a Washington-primarily based team getting ready to go into Major League Rugby subsequent yr.
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Old Glory could be one in all 3 additions to the US professional league in its third season, alongside the New England Free Jacks and Rugby ATL, from Atlanta.
Rugby United New York and Toronto Arrows joined in season and are appearing actively. New York has attracted French funding within the form of a 20% stake held with the aid of Pierre Arnald, once director fashionable of Stade Français. In New York, the franchise has also been connected to talks with Jacky Lorenzetti, owner of Racing 92, and Stephen Lansdown, billionaire proprietor of the Bristol Bears.
Seattle Seawolves have been the first MLR champions. The different groups are Glendale Raptors (based totally near Denver), Utah Warriors, San Diego Legion, NOLA Gold, Austin Elite and Houston SaberCats.
By e-mail, DC Old Glory co-founder Chris Dunlavey stated he and Paul Sheehy “have sought extra companions who can bring now not best capital however also some strategic cost to our company. Among the ones we reached out to were most important rugby corporations worldwide – each in the northern and southern hemispheres”.
The SRU investment came about, he said, thru relationships solid for the duration of current explorations of America by the Pro14 opposition, that’s made up of teams from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, South Africa, and Italy.
Regarding the proportion of DC Old Glory now owned with the aid of the SRU – in step with the documents seen using the Guardian, 28.2% – Dunlavey did no longer affirm the determine however did say the Guardian had visible “a real and relevant report.”
He brought: “Note however that our general plan [which led to this SRU partnership] has always contemplated [and still does] a fourth and in all likelihood 5th partner so that you can alternate the ownership chances. That stated, Paul Sheehy and I are committed to maintaining a controlling interest.”
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The SRU investment may additionally show arguably. The onion fields two groups inside the Pro14, Glasgow, and Edinburgh, which now perform strongly, however, have now not historically been powers in European opposition. An expert crew within the Borders, historically the heartland of Scottish rugby, become scrapped in 2007.
The DC funding isn’t always massive – mentioned by the US website RugbyWrapUp.Com to be between $500,000 and $seven hundred,000 over several years. But it comes as the SRU is making its own try to produce greater expertise by using putting in place the Super Six, a semi-seasoned competition with a purpose to begin later this yr.
The Scottish Rugby Chief Executive, Mark Dodson, stated: “This is a strategic worldwide partnership, which I am thrilled we’ve got secured to come to be the first tier-one kingdom to take this step with a crew in the MLR.
“We see this relationship as having some benefits for rugby in Scotland in addition to growing our global rugby footprint.”
Dunlavey stated “no particular plans were made” regarding player sharing, “however obviously, there may be opportunities for Scottish gamers or even coaches to perform on developmental assignments inside the US with Old Glory.”
The DC crew should begin up in what isn’t a hotbed of American rugby. Local players are being signed every MLR team however can field 10 foreigners – not counting Canadians.
“Old Glory DC is closely committed to growing the game of rugby in Greater DC and the Mid-Atlantic,” Dunlavey wrote, including that “we aim to develop participation in our region through 50% by 2023”.
To all of us wondering if the SRU is hoping to locate the subsequent Samu Manoa or Blaine Scully, Americans able to shine on the pinnacle degree in Europe, Dunlavey said the challenge “ought to also yield greater American talent of a great to play in the Pro14 or at other ranges of European rugby. Scotland may additionally gain as another step up in the pathway for such American skills”.
Dunlavey stated that from the SRU involvement, Old Glory “count on … possibilities to play in Scotland and for Scottish groups of diverse levels to go to the United States to play us.”