Pro Rugby in America readies itself for lift-off

first_img Full house: A Test between the All Blacks and USA was a sell-out This weekend will see the kick-off of professional rugby in America and RW speaks to the man tasked with exposing it to a potential audience of 330 million By Graham Jenkins“Professional rugby has officially arrived in America.”It is an audacious claim to make before a tackle has been made in the inaugural battle for the PRO Rugby title but the man behind the first competition to be sanctioned by USA Rugby and World Rugby is used to making bold and successful calls.Doug Schoninger made his name and his fortune in finance and banking before deciding the United States was finally ready to embrace rugby union on a grand scale and so convinced is he that he is prepared to prove it using his own money.The New Yorker has bankrolled the entire operation including the setting up of teams in Denver, Ohio, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco and the recruitment of the playing roster that includes ex-All Black centurion Mils Muliaina and former Springbok Pedrie Wannenburg.Star dust: All Black Test centurion Mils Muliaina will play in the new league“What really attracts me is that this is the last global sport not to go professional in the United States,” he explained, “it doesn’t mean it is going to work but there are not a whole lot of others to play with.“My job now is to expose 330 million people to this game, if they don’t like it then I was wrong.”To help convince the sports-mad population, including fans old and new as well as potential sponsors that rugby has indeed arrived, the league is prepared to shake things up a little.“We’re going to play sudden death so we are always going to have a result,” explained director of rugby operations Steve Lewis. “We’ve also told the refs we want high ball in play stats, we want speed and, without being artificial, we want points.”That determination to present an attractive product extends to often troublesome elements of the sport. “What’s the blight in the modern game? Scrum resets,” continued Lewis. “So I have expressed to the refs and coaches that we are having no more than two resets at which point the ref makes a decision.Growth sport: USA Sevens are expected to be challenging for medals in Rio“They may get it right, they might get it wrong, but the ball will be back in play. Short-arm, nobody gets three points, nobody gets 40 yards with a kick, but the ball is back in play.“We have also had meetings with the coaches where the message has been that you don’t get to year two without year one so this year we have to be more collaborative than competitors and that is difficult as every fibre of their bodies is competitive.“Short of not hiring defensive coaches there’s not much more we can do.“You have got to suck it up sometimes and realise that the whole thing has got to work and it’s not just about winning the league. It’s no good if there is no league in the second year.”They are also breaking new ground off the field. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALScenter_img The team names may appear a little bland to those US sports fans used to cheering on the ‘Warriors’, ‘Royals’ or ‘Broncos’ but there is a reason for that and it is part of the plan to build a dependable fan base with millennials a key target demographic.New frontiers: Ex-Wasps back Dom Waldouck will join Ohio for the season“We want to give ownership of that to the initial supporters, the foundation supporters of rugby,” explained Schoninger. “We’ll then pick one, build the logo around it and proper uniforms in the second year.“But the trick is if you want ownership it comes with responsibility, I’m giving you ownership but only as much as you take on responsibility.“So when people ask me what can  do I say go to games, buy a bit of the kit, if you don’t live anywhere near watch them on TV and watch them with people who don’t necessarily know rugby, spread the word – that’s what you can do, it doesn’t cost you anything.”The innovation does not stop there.The league announced this week that rather than the traditional TV broadcast right deal, games will be streamed worldwide via and will also be available on cable through One World Sports.“The sports world is changing dramatically right now,” explained Schoninger, “so we are in the midst of that storm which is ultimately beneficial to us but short-term it is a negative.Time to go: San Francisco players get their promotional shots done“There are all these new distribution paths but I’m very much a digital guy and I think that’s what the presentation needs to be, I don’t think watching it on TV anymore is that interesting especially for people a lot younger than me.”But this isn’t just a money making exercise – the league’s mission is to fuel the development of the game in the country but to do that they are willing to use overseas talent.“The mandate of the league is to grow the American game, but that being said, sometimes you need to use the assets of people who are more developed than you,” insisted Schoninger.“I am 100% supportive of USA Rugby and I believe that they are 100% supportive of me, that’s kind of what you want, just like your spouse, you don’t want them to get involved too much.”But Schoninger is well aware it is not just a matter of paying players.“It was an amateur game, it is still an amateur game, we are bridging it to professionalism and it’s not something you just walk across to quickly,” he said. “It’s not just the players who are amateur, the structure is amateur, the participants are amateur, everything is amateur about it. Our job is not just to bring the players into professionalism but to bring everything into professionalism.”As a result he is not looking too far ahead. “You’ve got to make a start, it’s like a sales meeting you know, the goal of a first sales meeting is to get a second sales meeting, there is no other goal.”last_img read more

Gibsons factory enters consultation period

first_imgThe owners of a major sandwich business based in Wiltshire have indicated that it may have to close as it is no longer economically viable.Ultimate Foods, which runs the Gibsons factory in Devizes, has entered into a 30-day consultation period with staff over the future of the plant.A total of 95 staff work at the plant, which is one of the largest sandwich making businesses in the country.The company said in a statement that following a thorough analysis of the business, it had concluded that the site was “not viable as a production unit in its current form in the long term”. The statement went on: “While Ultimate Foods will explore every possible option during the 30-day consultation over the future of the Devizes operation, it is very possible that the outcome will be the closure of the site. “The prospect of making hard-working and dedicated employees redundant is probably one of the hardest decisions any business has to make.” Previous owners Uniq announced in 2004 that it would close the factory but Gibsons stepped in and reopened it at the beginning of 2005. However, Gibsons themselves got into trouble when they lost a contract with Weight Watchers and an anticipated contract to supply sandwiches to WH Smith did not materialise. The plant was then taken over by Ultimate Foods.last_img read more

How credit unions can ‘think big’ and ‘act small’

first_img 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Anca VoineaIn order to thrive and be relevant, small and medium sized credit unions will have to find new ways to pull resources where they can.Speaking at the World Credit Union Conference in Denver, Mollie Bell, chief engagement officer at the Filene Research Institute looked at the state of credit union collaboration in the US. The session also explored the “Network” credit union concept model.Filene has conducted a series of research studies that examined the notion of collaboration, not only among credit unions, but also between credit unions and the wider co-operative sector.One of the key challenges facing credit unions is embracing new technologies. By pulling resources, credit unions can achieve more. Ms. Bell explained how technological collaboration was easier than 20 years ago. continue reading »last_img read more

Tony Parker retires: 5 Opta facts about the point guard’s legendary career

first_img“A lot of different stuff ultimately led me to this decision,” Parker told The Undefeated. “But, at the end of the day, I was like, if I can’t be Tony Parker anymore and I can’t play for a championship, I don’t want to play basketball anymore.”Aside from a long career, Parker also has four NBA championships, one NBA Finals MVP award and six All-Star nods under his belt.Here are five interesting Opta stats about the 37-year-old Frenchman’s time in the NBA. (If you like what you see here, give @OptaLarry — the official Twitter page for Opta’s NBA stats-driven coverage — a follow on Twitter.)Among international players, Parker is in good company.Parker’s stats puts him in elite standing when it comes to internationals players. He tops all in assists per game (5.6) and held his own on the court with a 49.1% field goal percentage and an average of 15.5 points per game.(All stats are from the regular season.)PlayerMPGPPGTRBAPGFG%3PM3P%FGAFT%FTASPGDirk Nowitzki33.820.77.52.447.1%1.338.0%15.687.9%5.40.8Giannis Antetokounmpo*32.718. Gasol*33.417. Parker30.515.52.75.649.1%0.432.4%12.675.1%3.60.8Vlade Divac29.811.*ActiveWhen it comes to NBA titles, Parker is kingParker’s four NBA titles is tied with teammate Manu Ginobili for the most won by an international player. His personal accolades aren’t too shabby, either.PlayerNBA TitlesAll-Star GamesAwards/HonorsDirk Nowitzki114MVP (2006-07)Finals MVP (2011)All-NBA Team (12 times)Giannis Antetokounmpo*03Most Improved Player (2016-17)All-NBA Team (Two times)All-Defensive Team (2016-17)All-Rookie Team (2013-14)Pau Gasol*26Rookie of the Year (2001-02)All-NBA Team (Four times)All-Rookie Team (2001-02)Tony Parker46Finals MVP (2007)All-NBA Team (Four times)All-Rookie Team (2001-02)Vlade Divac01All-Rookie Team (1989-90)*Active Tony Parker announced Monday his illustrious NBA career has come to an end.After spending 17 seasons with the Spurs and one with the Hornets, Parker said it was the right time for him to walk away. Making France proudParker retires with 1,254 games played, 19,473 career points, 7,036 career assists and 1,053 career steals in his NBA career, the most of any French player. His 18 years in the NBA are tied for the second-most ever for a player born outside the United States or its territories.Better than entire franchises?In his 18-year NBA career, Parker won 892 of the 1,254 games he played in (71.1%). That’s more wins than the Grizzlies (792 wins since 1996) and the Pelicans (643 wins since 2003) have in their franchise histories, and just 10 fewer than the Raptors (902 wins since 1996).Playoff proParker made 17 trips to the NBA playoffs, all as a member of the Spurs. Seven NBA franchises have yet to make 17 trips to the NBA playoffs.last_img read more

Eli Boatright of Oly Town Artesians Voted WISL Offensive Player of…

first_imgFacebook7Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Oly Town ArtesiansOly Town Artesians forward Eli Boatright has been voted Western Indoor Soccer League Offensive Player Of The Week for his game tying goal with 17 seconds left and an assist in the Artesians’ 4-4 draw against the Snohomish Skyhawks on Saturday night.After playing their best quarter of the season in the third quarter of Saturday’s game at Snohomish, the Artesians found themselves down 3-2 early in the fourth quarter and on the ropes. But Oly Town kept fighting and Eli Boatright found Collin Tate on a breakaway and Tate scored to tie the game, 3-3 with 2:49 left.Snohomish retook the lead, 4-3, with 1:31 left, but again, the Artesians didn’t quit and eventually forced the Skyhawks into a turnover. This time, Tate found Boatright with a pass and the 16 year-old Olympia High School student fought off an experienced defender more than twice his age and buried a shot past a goalkeeper more than twice his age to tie the game 4-4 with just 17 seconds left. Despite allowing the goal, Snohomish goalkeeper Trevor Davoren was voted the WISL’s Defensive POTW.Boatright, the little brother of longtime Oly Town captain Nate Boatright, has provided a spark for the struggling Artesians indoor program in his first season of indoor soccer, scoring three goals and assisting on three more while playing stronger than his 16 years and standing up to experienced defenders across the league. The draw was the first WISL point for the Artesians in over a year and their first point ever at the Snohomish Soccer Dome against the Skyhawks.Eli and the rejuvenated Artesians will look for more on Saturday night when they travel to the Tacoma Soccer Center to face fifth place Tacoma Narrows FC at 7:00 PM.They will finally return home for their final two games of the season when they play host to the Oly-Pen Force on Saturday, January 26th. First kick on 2000’s Night and Wembley Soccer Shop Youth Night is set for 6:30 PM at The Pavilion at The Evergreen State College. Kids in their youth uniforms get in for just $2 thanks to Wembley Soccer Shop. Stay up to date with the Artesians by visiting the Oly Town Artesians website, following them on Twitter, and liking them on Facebook.last_img read more

What KL Rahul did with his MOTM cash prize will melt your hearts!

first_imgImage Courtesy: CricTaker/APAdvertisement kp7NBA Finals | Brooklyn Vsb0gq02Wingsuit rodeo📽Sindre Eh1uw4( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) xg0Would you ever consider trying this?😱yx5tCan your students do this? 🌚64Roller skating! Powered by Firework The recent One Day International series against Australia saw the discovery of a new KL Rahul. The newfound wicket keeper of Team India, also showcased his adaptability in the batting order. Along with numerous praise from pundits and supporters for his performance on the field, KL Rahul is also receiving admiration for unveiling his humanitarian side, as the superstar donated his Man of the Match cash award for animal rights.Advertisement Image Courtesy: CricTaker/APIn the second ODI at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, India bounced back with a brilliant performance after losing the first game. The hosts put up a monumental score of 340 in the first innings, a big factor of which was Rahul’s swashbuckling 80 off 52, with six fours and three sixes.The Men in Blues won the game by 36 runs, while Rahul won the Man of the Match award. As the series ended with a 2-1 win for Kohli and his squad, the skipper selected the 27 year old for wicket keeping role for the upcoming New Zealand tour.Advertisement However, Rahul’s brilliance isn’t just exclusive to cricket. Rahul donated Rs. 2 lakh, double of what he received as MOTM cash prize to Shravan Krishnan, an animal activist from Chennai.Shravan Krishnan is the founder of “Hotel For Dogs”, and spoke to Indian digital news out The News Minute about Rahul’s love for animals, and also his friend’s heartwarming gesture.Advertisement “Rahul and I have always been in touch and when I put photos of injured animals on Instagram he would tell me that it was difficult to even look at them.” Shravan said in the interview.He continued: “I knew he would send the money right after he won. But what surprised me was that he had sent double the amount that he won. He transferred a total of Rs. 2 lakh to the Besant Memorial Animal Dispensary (BMAD).”Besant Memorial Animal Dispensary, located in Besant Nagar, Chennai, is an outreach programme for animal welfare run by the Theosophical Society.“He (Rahul) always said that he can’t be hands on and help us at the centre but that we should contact him for any financial assistance,”  Shravan added.Also read-Yuvraj Singh issues plea for Australian bushfire crisis; over 480 million animals affectedVirat Kohli says he’s ‘never felt better’ after adopting a vegetarian diet Advertisementlast_img read more


first_img                BETTYS BAMBINO:  Rallying from off the pace, he was a convincing 2 ¼ length winner of the Grade III San Simeon Stakes over the course on opening day, Dec. 26, which was his first start since taking the Sensational Star in February, 2015.  A winner of the Grade III Daytona Stakes two starts back on Dec. 28, 2014, this Unusual Heat gelding will be bidding for his sixth consecutive win over the course in a run that began on Sept. 27, 2014.  Bred in California by his owners, Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Joseph Ciaglia, Bettys Bambino is 11-7-0-3 overall with earnings of $378,036. ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 22, 2017)–Trainer Peter Eurton’s recent graded winner Bettys Bambino will take on Marty Jones’ comebacking Ambitious Brew as this pair heads a field of five older horses bred or sired in California in Saturday’s $100,000 Sensational Star Stakes, to be contested at 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course. The one-two finishers in the 2015 Sensational Star, these 7-year-old geldings have accounted for 11 wins over the course throughout their highly successful careers.Second in this race a year ago, trainer Peter Miller’s speedy Richard’s Boy comes off a stakes win versus state-breds on dirt and should be very tough transitioning back to a course he’s enjoyed considerable success over. Bettys Bambino–Corey Nakatani–124Richard’s Boy–Victor Espinoza–124Acceptance–Stewart Elliott–124Ambitious Brew–Mike Smith–124Forest Chatter–Flavien Prat–120First post time for a nine-race card Saturday is at 12:30 p.m., with admission gates opening at 10:30 a.m.  For scratches, changes and complete morning line information, please visit AMBITIOUS BREW: Idle since well beaten in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint here on Nov. 5, this Pamela Ziebarth homebred son of Tizbud was an impressive 1 ¾ length winner down the hill of the Grade III Eddie D. Stakes two starts back on Sept. 30 and should be plenty tough off the bench for Jones in what will be his 11th career start down the hillside.  With Mike Smith back at the controls, Ambitious Brew should be attentive to the pace as he bids for his eighth career win.  With earnings of $499,225, he has an overall mark of 21-7-7-0. RACE IS PART OF LUCRATIVE GOLDEN STATE SERIES FOR CALIFORNIA-BRED OR SIRED HORSES RICHARD’S BOY: Head and head for the lead early, he comes off a game nose victory on the main track in the California Cup Sprint going six furlongs here on Jan. 28 and was a close third from off the pace behind Bettys Bambino in the Grade III San Simeon down the hill two starts back on Dec. 26.  Second, beaten a head in last year’s Sensational Star, this 5-year-old Idiot Proof gelding has been no worse than third in his last seven starts and can be counted upon to force the issue on Saturday under Victor Espinoza.  Trained by Peter Miller and owned by Gary Hartunian’s Rockingham Ranch, Richard’s Boy is 7-2-2-1 over the course and he has an overall mark of 19-8-5-2, with earnings of $536,080. THE SENSATIONAL STAR STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDERRace 3 of 9                                                                                                          Approximate post time 1:30 p.m. PTlast_img read more

Report: Raiders signing Lamarcus Joyner, potential starting safety

first_imgThe Raiders continued their tear through the NFL offseason Monday night, reaching an agreement with former Rams safety and impending free agent Lamarcus Joyner, NFL Network first reported.Joyner’s deal is for four years at around $10.5 million per year, according to ESPN.The Raiders now have a strong contender to start at safety, something they badly needed with 35-year-old Reggie Nelson’s future up in the air and Marcus Gilchrist set to hit unrestricted free agency on Wednesday.Joyner most …last_img read more

Nova Chemicals appeals ruling that it pay Dow US106billion in damages

first_imgCALGARY – Nova Chemicals has appealed an Alberta judge’s order that it pay US$1.06 billion in damages to Dow Chemical Canada in a dispute over a massive ethylene plant in the province.The dispute centres on a production facility in Joffre, Alta. known as E3 that Nova started operating in 2000.Dow Canada alleged breach of contract over the E3 joint venture agreements, claimed that Nova took part of the ethylene and other products that belonged to Dow and failed to run the facility at full production.Nova said it faced an ethane shortage and ran the facility as fully as it could, subject to mechanical issues that constrained production.Justice Barbara Romaine of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench ruled in favour of Dow in June, and against a counterclaim filed by Nova in a case that included claims and counterclaims for damages between 2001 to 2012.Nova Chemicals says in its appeal that the trial judge “fundamentally misapprehended” the project agreements, including the context they were entered into, and so mistakenly awarded the damages.(Companies in this story: TSX:NCX)last_img read more

RJD releases manifesto, promises reservation

first_imgPatna: The RJD on Monday released its manifesto, titled ‘Pratibadhta Patra’, promising reservation for SCs, STs, EBC and OBCs in proportion of their population in the private sector and the higher judiciary. The ceiling – a 50 per cent cap – had been broken after giving 10 per cent quota to the weaker sections among the general category so the people belonging to these categories (SCs, STs, EBC and OBCs) should be given reservation on the basis of their population, party leader Tejashwi Yadav said while releasing the manifesto here. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ The apex court had fixed a cap of 50 per cent on total reservation and the Centre last month justified in Supreme Court its recent law granting 10-per cent quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWSs), saying it was brought in to promote “social equality”. Advocating extension of quota for them in higher judiciary and the private sector, the manifesto also vowed to carry out caste-based census in 2020-21. Pointing out that the RJD, also agrees with the Congress manifesto, it said, the party “completely endorses” the ‘Nyay’ scheme of the Congress, which would be beneficial to states like Bihar. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K Tejashwi Yadav was accompanied by Rajya Sabha member and party’s national spokesman Manoj Jha, Bihar RJD chief Ram Chandra Purve and others at the release of the party’s manifesto. The RJD also demanded from the Centre to make public the Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) data, carried out by the UPA government. Releasing the manifesto, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, also the leader of the opposition in the state, said that “it is not the manifesto of RJD, rather it is a ‘pratibadhta patra’ (commitment document) of the party”. A helpline number would be launched and a help centre set up in major cities of the country for the people of Bihar living outside the state, the manifesto said. The party would ensure that six per cent of gross domestic product be spent on education and four per cent on health, he said. “If our (party’s) government is formed in Bihar, then we will remove the ‘illegal’ tag on toddy and make it ‘legal’….The move to make toddy illegal has rendered many belonging to economically weaker sections jobless. “My father Lalu Prasad, when he was the chief minister, had abolished tax on toddy,” the RJD leader said. Replying to a query on his elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav’s recent activities, Tejashwi evaded a direct reply, saying “the press conference has been organized for releasing the manifesto today”. According to the seat-sharing formula for the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar announced by the opposition ‘Mahagathbandhan’, 20 seats will be fought by the RJD and nine by the Congress. Of the 20 constituencies, the RJD has left the Ara seat to the CPI(ML) Liberation. Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) and Mukesh Sahni’s Vikasheel Insan Party (VIP) will field candidates on five and three seats respectively. Former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM) has been given three seats. The seven-phase election in Bihar is scheduled from April 11 to May 19.last_img read more