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Premiership consider playing games in USA
ESPN Staff
May 13, 2014
USA's Taku Ngwenya watches on, Ireland v USA Eagles, Rugby World Cup, New Plymouth, New Zealand, September 11, 2011
© Getty Images
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A report in the Times claims that talks to play at least one Premiership match in the USA are at an advanced stage, with the possibility one game next season could be held there.

Stories about London Irish exploiting the large Irish communities in Boston or New York have been circulating for some time, but now Mark McCafferty, the chief executive of Premiership Rugby, has confirmed that rather than an ad hoc arrangement made by individual clubs, a more structured deal is in the pipeline.

"We are working on plans for a game out there," McCafferty told the newspaper. "There are opportunities; we have to find the right entry point and the right time.

"We have got to recognise that it will build. It is slowly beginning to come through [in the USA]. They have players who are beginning to come through."

Several clubs are known to be interested. Simon Cohen, Leicester's chief executive, said they were looking at the plan but warned it was an expensive exercise with it costing each club around £100,000. "There are all sorts of sponsorship deals that may reduce that cost but it is not as cheap as playing on the other side of the east Midlands."

Bath's chairman Bruce Craig told the newspaper there has been "a discussion … start a league, push American rugby forward. There are opportunities to look at coaching opportunities together, academies working together, twin cities, twin teams, leagues. In the future I can see that developing into something pretty significant."

Saracens and Leicester told the Times that they would only go as the away side because they did not want such a match to impact on their home crowd.

US sports have already successfully achieved the reverse by bringing professional basketball and NFL to the UK, but in those cases it is more about commercialism than growing the sport itself.

Rugby is gaining ground in the USA, partly because it is seen as much cheaper and less physically damaging than NFL at school and college level , and partly helped by the inclusion of Sevens in the 2016 Olympics. The USA recently qualified to take part in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

USA celebrate qualifying for the 2015 Rugby World Cup © Twitter
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