Rhode Island Expanding into Schools

By Daniel Andruczyk

With the first round of the USARL having been played on the weekend, one of the newer clubs, the Rhode Island Rebellion, were kind enough to have a chat with me through the week on their first thought and impressions and also discuss where they are heading with the development of the sport in the Rhode Island area. Lawrence Almagno and Josh Price talked about the History of the club, the weekends game and also some of their future plans.

First up, I asked about Saturdays game, how the team team went, not so much with the result as they lost to the Philadelphia Fight but as a new team. Lawrence said “I was proud of the boys. Most of them are brand new to the sport”. The players in the first half learnt very quickly what it means to play Rugby League. With the fight putting on the points in the first half the Rebellion team muscled up in the second. “At half time I told them, OK you now know what to expect. Now just work at it.” Josh said. The club had 250 people come to watch the team, most were paying fans but there were many tickets that were given away for free. The current capacity of the stadium is about 1000 however there are extra stands that can be built up where the capacity can expanded to over 5000.

The Rebellion were will be streaming their games live on the web, however Saturdays stream didn’t work. Lawrence commented “We’d been testing all week and it worked, and something on the night failed. It happens, we’ll get it right next time.” Despite that the matches still get filmed and are put up later on the web, “ We have 3 cameras that we film the matches with.” Who knows there may be a Rhode Island DVD at seasons end?

I then asked about the Origins of the Rhode Island team, how it got started. With the USA Rugby League there was to be an expansion team in New York. However Rhode Island is a hot bed of Rugby Union and Lawrence saw that it would be a better opportunity to have a team there. So They moved the team to Providence in Rhode Island. Many of the players in the Rhode Island team are Rugby Union players coming straight out of the school system or College Football players. It was a player market that made sense to be tapped.

In the USA the games are split into quarters, so 20 minutes a piece. I asked why that was “Basically, its what Americans are used to and so to try and attract more American fans you try to give them something familiar” Lawrence said. It also gives the players and officials the ability to re-hydrate properly. I can tell you from personal experience now that summers here can be pretty brutal. Mid 30 degrees (Celcius) and High Humidity. Also in the future if or when the sport finally attracts the TV deals it will give the opportunity for advertisers to do commercials and bring in money.

As for the future of the club, they are starting to focus on some juniors, something that hasn’t really been done in the USA before. The Rebellion have now got approval from the Athletic director from the Classical High Scool to have the sport played as Rugby League there. Also in the Bishop Hendriken High School which has a strong Union program, have also agreed to play rugby league games to give the Classical school some competition. Of course I also had to ask what the clubs goal were this season and all up. “Well I honestly think that we can win.” Said Lawrence, he continues “We have a goal for the Play Offs and Grand Final and to play to the best of our ability.” Josh said “The Rebellion are here to stay and should not be taken lightly.”

So there you have it, some more info and insight from one of the newest addition to Rugby League in the USA.


Daniel Andruczyk’s email: daniel@rugbyleagueinternationalscores.com
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