There isn’t any love lost between rugby league and union – a debate that springs back to the breakaway of the Northern Rugby Football Union back in 1895.
But, just when the comments of ‘working together’ from the likes of Shaun Edwards and Eddie Jones had prompted a sort of entente cordiale between the codes, the 15-a-side code has taken a step that could be considered too far.
A new US sevens franchise has been created in Las Vegas – that isn’t the controversial part.
The event has been organised by the newly founded Rugby Football League – erm, hello? The Rugby Football League has been a functioning governing body since 1922, it just can’t be copied.
The competition will kick off in October, 2022 and after the first event, featuring 12 international teams and four US franchises, the so-called ‘RFL’ will transition by 2026 to ultimately comprise of 16 domestic teams competing with select international sides across 17 tournaments.
The governing body is then aiming to add four new teams and four new events per year between 2023 and 2026.
— The Alchemist (@TheAlch76701036) December 3, 2021
Chief executive and World Rugby alumnus Philippe Bourdarias has stated: “The RFL is an amazing development for the game of rugby in the US. There is a huge appetite for rugby sevens events in the US, as shown by the record-breaking RWC Sevens 2018 in San Francisco and the success of the Las Vegas Sevens over the years.”
“Our ‘Race Track Rugby’ concept will enable us to leverage the fast-growing live betting market, providing sportsbooks with a fantastic opportunity for customer acquisition and engagement. Given our unique positioning, we are already in partnership talks with US and European operators.”