Coach Gary Gold said Major League Rugby (MLR) will help the United States be more competitive at the World Cup in Japan, but conceded we might only see the best of his side in four years’ time.
The U.S. begin their campaign against England on Sept. 26, followed by meetings with France, Argentina and Tonga in Pool C, where they are the lowest ranked team.
South African Gold was assistant coach for the Springboks at the 2011 World Cup and is realistic about his side’s prospects.
However, he believes regular game-time for players in MLR, a nine-team professional domestic championship which started last year, has been a game-changer and will continue to be felt in years to come.
“It is critical, there is no doubt that it was a contributor to our wins over Scotland, Samoa and Canada recently,” Gold told Reuters in a telephone interview.
“The players will come into our first camp, which starts in mid-June, having played four or five months of rugby week in, week out.
“Over and above that, it is that tier of player that has not got a contract in France, England or elsewhere, who previously has not been in that professional environment where you train and gym regularly, understand the nutritional requirements and so on.
“In years gone by, we might have had players who would come to camp without having even trained in four months, let alone played matches. So it is massive for us.”
The U.S. will take part in the Pacific Nations Cup in July-August along with hosts Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Canada and Japan, and are also seeking a pre-World Cup friendly after a proposed fixture against Australia fell away.
Full story via uk.reuters