By Jonny Fordham
15th September 2017, 11:31 pm
RUGBY has hit the United States for the first of its four American super-size slams.
Whilst the crowd might not be much to write home about the game is taking a step in the right direction by attempting to tap into the land of the free.
The NFL, the padded, beefed-up version of egg-chasing, is never going to be in trouble this side of the pond when it comes to the Premiership heading to the east coast.
But what it does show is an ambition from the suits in and around Twickenham to try and tap into this sports-mad market.
It will be only the second Premiership match to be played in the USA. Saracens were involved in the first, beating London Irish in New Jersey in March 2016.
Sarries have conquered Europe twice in the last two seasons – but stars such as Maro Itoje and his team-mates are still relative nobodies in America.
SunSport are out in Philadelphia and have spoken to the movers and shakers who have been influential in staging the first match of a four-year deal here.
There are a number of reasons behind us coming to America. Obviously the main one is to grow the game globally. America is the largest economy in the world so from a financial point of view it makes sense for the powers that be to get on this market.
I’ve noticed that people in Philadelphia are sports crazy. This is not their natural sport. From talking to people in Philadelphia, you notice that they’re very interested and very receptive of rugby. They all think we’re crazy because we don’t have pads, but I tell them we’ll be okay. It’s the first time I’ve played rugby in America so it’s a new experience for me. It’s all good.
Rugby’s growing and it’s been growing at an exponential rate since it turned professional. In terms of the power, the pace, the skill but also in terms of the team behind the team.
The corporate team behind the organisations. As time goes by, rugby will naturally grow to become a bigger sport globally.