MLR Rugby – January 2021

*MLR Drop From 13 Teams to 12 Teams as Dallas Jackals Postpone Entry to 2022*

MLR will have to rejig their schedule as they’ve just lost a team to the 2021 season. The Dallas Jackals were planning on entering the league this year but couldn’t pull it off with the deadline looming in March.

There was only one Canadian listed on the roster for this year, Hank (Henry) Stevenson from the Toronto Nomads. He is listed as a second row but only played rep rugby for Canada in 7s when Canada sent a U18 team to the Auckland School 7s in 2017. He made the long list for Canada U20 in 2018.

from MLR

DALLAS (January 19, 2021) — The Dallas Jackals today announced the club will not compete in the 2021 Major League Rugby (MLR) season. The decision, which was made in coordination with Major League Rugby, is based on a number of factors that will provide the expansion team the best opportunity to succeed in its inaugural season and into the future.

A dispersal draft will be held in the near future for potential redistribution of Jackals players throughout the league for the 2021 season.

“This has been a challenging process, but we firmly believe this is the best decision for the long-term success of our team,” said Jackals President Scott Sonju. “The pandemic has obviously had a far-reaching impact on many businesses. For an expansion sports team it presents very specific challenges, from properly cultivating community and business relationships, to securing visas for international players – there are many challenges in a normal climate, let alone in the unusual climate of this past year. We know this organization is going to be highly successful. We know DFW is an important market for the league. But we also know that you only get one chance to make a first impression. After consulting with our partners and MLR Commissioner George Killebrew, we agreed introducing professional rugby to North Texas in 2022 is the right decision.”

The pandemic has forced businesses in many different industries – in particular entertainment, film and sports – to move launch dates due the pandemic-affected business climate. Recently, Major League Soccer announced a similar delay in start for three of its expansion clubs. Major League Rugby, with teams in 12 North American cities, will kick-off its fourth season on March 20, 2021.

The Jackals are bolstered by a base of enthusiastic rugby fans, affectionately known as The Pack, who have long advocated to bring the sport to DFW. Sonju has a message to Jackal fans:

“To all our supporters, let me say, we share your disappointment in this delay. Your belief in the Jackals inspires us, and trust me, we are determined to ensure the Jackals will enjoy lasting success. This is going to happen, and you’ll be a big reason why. Stay tuned – great things are ahead.”

MLR Commissioner George Killebrew said he’s worked closely with the Jackals on this decision and supports their plan.

“We are in a great place as a league, both financially and with the product we are set to deliver, when the 2021 season kicks off in March,” said Killebrew. “DFW is a top-five television market and a region that is important to MLR’s long-term growth strategy. Scott Sonju has earned enormous respect, with a proven track record running professional sports organizations. He believes in doing things right and setting up the Jackals for lasting success. This is a difficult decision, but one that’s being done for prudent reasons and to serve the fan base, the team and the league well in the long run.”

Posted in Other News.