The rugby world has seen steady growth in the North American continent; MLR (major league rugby) has had two whole seasons now, but what does North American rugby really offer.
Maybe the best example of Northern American rugby growth is shown by the recent international tests between England and Canada and the match between England and USA. Both matches were won by England with large margins but if you look closer you see more important statistics.
The score of England vs Canada was 70-10 in the favour of England. Yet this was a large improvement from Canada's past performances. England had previously beat Canada
70-00 at Twickenham in 2004. That might not sound like an impressive improvement, yet the team of 2004 was a World Cup winning beast. So how have Canada improved into a position were they can score two tries against the runners up of the World Cup?
You have to remember the England team of the 2021 summer test was a younger side since the bulk of the England team were playing for the British and Irish Lions tour in South Africa. You can't take away from Canada's efforts though, some of the Canadian rugby players were not professionals and others were only recently Pros. Yet this didn't stop the hoard of Canadian fans from cheering their team. There might of been less then a thousand Canadians at the limited capacity game on the 10th of July but they still made some noise (trust me I was seated next to some lovely Canadian rugby fans). So Canada might not be the next World Cup winners anytime soon but they for sure will improve and grow bigger with talks of another pro team in Canada and even a shout out from the nation's president.
The USA gave the England side a bit more of a battle. The American team came with burning ambition and eagerness to play fast hand and big hit rugby, and one way or another they pulled it off. they might not of won but they gave England fans something to talk about. England even conceded more points then their Atlantic cousins in the second half but despite the Eagles efforts the score came to 43-29. America seem to be quickly emerging into the tier 3 nations of rugby. Their domestic league is becoming home to impressive skill and has some big names frequenting its roster and home grown talent is starting to show.
Along with talent America is growing there rugby fan base. Americans took to the stands of the summer test loud and proud. Simon has spoke about how if America ever took to rugby they would become a powerful force and that's what's starting to happen. Kyle Ciquera spoke about how the mentality of the Boston based New England Free Jacks team is one of high performance standards.
Quentin Newcomer another home grown talent of the USA also talked about the clinical mentality of American based rugby. So how much has the MLR improved American rugby?
The USA World Cup side in 2019 were beaten with a whooping 45-5 margin by England. The 2019 game was far from the team of 2021. The effects of the MLR are already showing and we are excited to see more.
In whole it seems North America offers the perfect green house to grow the seed of rugby.
By Samuel Baines