Not surprisingly, the global pandemic has claimed yet another sporting scalp by forcing a delay to the much anticipated and historic start of the new USA Women’s Rugby League (USAWRL) program.
Established in 2019 as the only women’s competition endorsed by USA Rugby League LLC, which is the governing body for the American domestic clubs competition, the USAWRL had planned to get things rolling this year in preparation for 2021.
The national program had been penciled in to open with a development camp in Austin, Texas, in November, which also was to have incorporated a 9s tournament, along with a 13-a-side women’s East versus West All-Star game.
However, as has been the case all through the Americas, and many other parts of the rugby league world for that matter in 2020, COVID-19 has brought a premature end to those plans.
“We stopped all activity at the beginning of October as there was a mix of opportunity around in certain areas but we had to can them as the uncertainty continued to rise,” USAWRL Inc chair Garen Casey told Rugby League Planet.
“We had too many cancelations so it was determined that a hold on all activities would be best for everyone and then regroup early in 2021, in February/March, at the American Rugby Pro Training Center (ARPTC) in Arkansas.
“That will be confirmed before the end of the year.”
At this stage, 2021 is slated to open with a domestic 9s tournament to be held in March or April with the women’s national teams to then compete at the Americas 9s tournament and the rescheduled Americas Championship.
The USAWRL has already begun efforts this year to establish women’s rugby league in various parts of the US including Chicago, New York, Florida, Utah, Texas, Los Angeles and Hawaii.
USAWRL Inc will be a non-profit organisation which opens up the potential to drive corporate sponsorship. Its partners are launching ‘rugby’ specific supplements to support the players and financially support the game’s development domestically.