In advance of its fourth season, Major League Rugby (MLR) today announced it's 2021 season will start with matches on March 20th, 2021, and will continue for 18 weeks of regular-season action. Thirteen teams including Marcello Wainwright’s Toronto Arrows will be competing to make the MLR Playoffs. At the conclusion of the regular season, the MLR playoffs will be contested over two weeks of Eastern and Western Conference finals with the Championship Final to be held August 1st.
“We are looking forward to Major League Rugby’s fourth season being a powerful return for professional rugby in North America,” said MLR Commissioner George Killebrew. “We’re confident that this season is going to be groundbreaking for MLR with the expansion to 13 teams and plans to ramp up the fan experience like never before. March 20 is going to be a great day when Major League Rugby returns.”
Like many major professional sports around the globe, due to the pandemic, MLR adjusted its 2020 season schedule and turned its attention to ensuring the league would rebound with a strong showing in 2021. League and team officials have been diligently working to build strong rosters and enhance the fan experience for the upcoming season. Matches will be televised on CBS Sports Network and Fox Sports 2 among other national and local market platforms. The MLR Championship will be broadcast on CBS Television Network on Sunday, August 1st.
In advance of the regular season, training camps for all MLR teams will begin February 15th. There will be a variety of pre-season activities in each market as well as national media day where each team will provide standout players for national and international media availability.
Saturday, September 19, 2020
World Tens Series Bermuda Organizers Live @ 1:30pm
The World Tens Series Inaugural event will take place in Bermuda at the National Sports Center.
The first weekend of action being October 24th-25th, Round 2 being October 31st to November 1st, and the Championship being November 7th.
www.islandstats.com will speak with organizers live at 1:30pm
Friday, September 18, 2020
Three More Teams Announced for World Tens Series
Three more have been confirmed to compete in the World Tens Series in Bermuda 2020. The Asia Pacific Dragons, London Royals and the Miami Sun have all confirmed their participation.
Asia Pacific Dragons
Former Rugby World Cup winning Australia number 8, Toutai Kefu will coach the Dragons with Nafi Tuitavake, Osea Kolinisau, Api Naikantani and Tomasi Alosio just a few of the international players pledging their names to the Dragons squad.
Tuitavake has represented New Zealand on the sevens circuit and has played 15-a-side international rugby for Tonga. Kolinisau and Naikatani are both plying their trade in MLR with Old Glory DC and Houston SaberCats respectively. Kolinisau was also a member of the successful Fiji Olympic 7s team where they took home the gold medal in Rio 2016. Alosio has represented Samoa on the 7s circuit since 2015 and can play in the center or on the wing.
Asia Pacific Dragons Head Coach, Toutai Kefu, is excited by the challenge of coaching this team against some of the best players in the world. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to coach the Asia Pacific Dragons in the newly formed World Tens Series.”
Created as one of eight competing teams, the London Royals have compiled a squad of players who are among the best in the world, especially in the shorter form of the game.
England 7s players Tom Mitchell, Tom Bowen and Alex Davis have already confirmed their places within the Royals squad, with more to follow. All three players have a huge amount of experience, having represented England in the World 7s Series.
Tom Mitchell has played 7s for England over the last eight years and brings a wealth of experience to the team having been England captain. Mitchell was the leading point scorer during the 2013/14 World 7s Series and picked up an Olympic silver medal for Team Great Britain at the 2016 Rio Games.
Tom Bowen featured in all of England’s 2019/20 World 7s Series legs, scoring 11 tries, having made his debut in the Gold Coast leg back in 2014. Alex Davis has been recognized for his devastating attacking play and fearless defense on the 7s pitch and will be an exceptional asset to the London team.
The Miami Sun is the fifth of eight franchises to be announced, this is the second US team to be confirmed to participate following the announcement of the Ohio Aviators earlier this month and will include a squad full of some of the most exciting players from around the globe.
There is no MLR team based in the city, so the creation of the Miami Sun will allow rugby fans in the area a team to support as The Sun take on squads from across the world in Bermuda.
The Sun will be led by a world-renowned Head Coach with vast amounts of international experience. His appointment will be announced shortly.
The creation of the Miami Sun brand follows the recent launch of Inter Miami in the MLS and is the latest in a line of world established and successful Miami based sporting franchises that includes the Miami Heat and Dolphins.
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Ohio Aviators Announce Squad for Bermuda
The Ohio Aviators are making a surprise return to the rugby field. Four years after their last game in the now-defunct PRO Rugby, the team has been revived with a new logo to compete in the newly-created World Tens Series that will take place in Bermuda starting late next month.
There are links to the old team in both the tournament management and the team itself. Former Aviators coach Paul Holmes is the Chief Operating Officer of the World Tens Series, while Aviators manager Tom Rooney is listed as the Director of the new team.
Former players on the roster include Kyle Baillie, Dylan Fawsitt, Riekert Hattingh, JP Eloff, and Shawn Riley. Taylor Howden and Zack Stryffeler were also on the team but are this time part of the traveling staff. All seven suited up as players during the 2020 Major League Rugby season.
In fact all but two names on the roster are linked to MLR teams. Ohio State prop Spencer Krueger was drafted by the New England Free Jacks, while Bryce Campbell is listed with the Austin Gilgronis though the team is yet to formally confirm the signing.
Austin Blacks prop and US Eagles international Chris Baumann has thus far rejected the call of MLR but will make the trip. South African midfielder Tiaan Loots played for the SaberCats during the 2020 season but has since been released and should resurface with another club in 2021.
Baumann is one of ten full internationals on the roster. Also capped by the USA are Fawsitt, Eloff, Campbell, Ben Cima, Will Magie, Shalom Suniula, and Peter Tiberio. Representing Canada are NOLA Gold pair Baillie and Eric Howard. Assistant Coach Kane Thompson, also of NOLA, played for Samoa.
Three rounds of matches will be played across two weeks at the National Stadium in Devonshire. The opening round will take place on October 24th and 25th, the second round October 31st and November 1st, and the finals on November 7th.
It’s not clear yet how many teams will be participating with only one other team confirmed thus far – SX10 from South Africa, coached by former Blitzboks star Frankie Horne. The tournament will not be open to spectators but will be streamed worldwide.
FORWARDS Kyle Baillie (NOLA Gold), Chris Baumann (Austin Blacks), Dylan Fawsitt (Rugby United New York), Riekert Hattingh (Seattle Seawolves), Eric Howard (NOLA Gold), Spencer Krueger (New England Free Jacks), John Sullivan (NOLA Gold), Brad Tucker (Seattle Seawolves)
BACKS Bryce Campbell (Austin Gilgronis), Ben Cima (Seattle Seawolves), JP Eloff (NOLA Gold), Tiaan Loots (unattached), Will Magie (Austin Gilgronis), Shawn Riley (NOLA Gold), Cristian Rodriguez (Belmont Shore), JP Smith (Seattle Seawolves), Shalom Suniula (Seattle Seawolves), Peter Tiberio (Seattle Seawolves)
STAFF Head Coach – Taylor Howden Assistant Coach – Kane Thompson Manager – Zack Stryffeler Medical Director – Richard Quincy Director – Tom Rooney
Monday, September 14, 2020
World Tens Series Bermuda 2020 Rules Announced
The World Tens Series inaugural Tournament in Bermuda 2020, will feature three rounds of matches scheduled for the National Sports Center.
Round 1: October 24th – 25th 2020 Round 2: October 31st – November 1st, 2020 Finals: Bermuda National Stadium November 7th, 2020
Rules have also been updated, the games will be played with 10 minutes each way / 2-minute half-time. 16 Players selected from 20 man squad for each match, with unlimited rolling substitutions allowed throughout each match.
In addition, no games can result in draws, and points for converted tries can vary depending on where the kicker converts from.
Conversions Jeopardy with the Conversion after Try now worth between 1 and 5 points depending on where the kicker selects which Zone to kick from.
This also allows Specialist Kickers to be drafted into Squads.
In addition – no Match will be a Draw, if scores are tied after the 20 minutes – the opposing kickers will have a match play Shoot-out.