The supposed day of PRO Rugby’s roster announcement has come, but there was no announcement to be found. Outside of sharing a story from The Guardian, the league’s Facebook page was peculiarly silent compared to the flurry of announcements last week. I can think of a number of reasons for a possible delay, as things get messy when you are dealing with around 150 different contracts. It was mentioned in the comments yesterday that the league will be re-launching their website shortly; perhaps the rosters will come with that re-launch. Whatever the hold up may be, it isn’t worth worrying about unless it drags on past the next couple of days.
More importantly, training kicked off for all teams across the league. Photos from these first practices give us a better idea of who is on each team. This Is American Rugby wrote about the practices and noted a few players from the photos, but there are quite a few left unidentified. I spot Mike Garrity, Chad London and Armandt Peens in the Denver photos in addition to the players named by TIAR. The Rugby Republic mentions that the Sacramento team picture was taken by player Rashad Harbor, previously a member of the New Orleans Rugby Club.
- Tim Stanfill is on his way down to San Diego. He could theoretically be joining the USA 7s team, but the timing suggests that this move is related to PRO Rugby.
- A photo from notable youth coach Salty Thompson shows the 2013 High School All-American team he coached and mentions that four of that team’s players are now playing in PRO Rugby: Justin Allen, Valdemar Lee-Lo, Michael Reid, and Jojo Tikoisuva. The Sacramento Lions posted that Tikoisuva would play for the Sacramento team, and it looks like the Dixon, CA native Lee-Lo is on the squad as well.
- Notably missing from that list of PRO players is Hanco Germishuys, although he is mentioned as an Eagle. He is also absent from the photos taken in Denver yesterday. If it turns out that he isn’t on a PRO roster in year one, it could be due to his commitments with the Junior All-Americans and U.S. national team that take up a considerably portion of the season. It’s also possible that he has the opportunity to play professionally elsewhere, but I haven’t heard anything on that front.
- Former France 7s player Jean-Baptiste Gobelet retweeted something that indicates that he may be playing in PRO Rugby. USA captain and Newcastle Falcons flanker Todd Clever wished him a happy birthday a couple of days ago and said “Looking forward to celebrating State side!” which also hints at not only Gobelet joining the league but Clever as well. Clever has been rumored to be joining the San Diego side.
- Legendary All Black Mils Muliaina was in the Bay Area this past week, visiting the Life West rugby team. The post mentioned him catching up with Orene Ai’i. Perhaps Muliaina really is just visiting but he fits the mold of the other internationals that have joined the league, albeit with a more prolific career.