More on PRO Rugby Situation: Dismissed Coach Paul Keeler Tells His Side


NEW YORK, NY – First off, Happy New Year to you and yours. We hope this finds you happy and healthy. On the American rugby front, neither of those terms can be applied to the parties involved in the escalating battle between the Professional Rugby Organization (Pro Rugby or PRO) owner Doug Schoninger and some of its coaches, players, staff and vendors. Front and center in the fight is USA Rugby and potentially, the newly-formed United States Rugby Players Association (USRPA). Caught in the middle are rugby fans, unfortunately, and we will do our best to keep our fellow fans informed on any developments and provide a platform for those involved to state their opinions and views, without offering ours.To that end, we have recently posted interviews with league owner Schoninger and Ohio Aviators Assistant Coach, and Tiger Rugby founder, Paul Holmes.

Today’s piece was intended to be another transcribed-to-written-word interview with dismissed Head Coach of  the disbanded San Francisco Rush, Paul Keeler, but it is much better heard than read. So from the comfy confines of the Pig N Whistle on W36th Street in NYC, we took the time to enhance the experience for you by adding relevant photos, graphics, quotes and clips, so feel free to pull up a chair, grab a coffee or beverage of choice and watch – or simply listen. Don’t be scared off by the length; it moves quickly and you can always break it up into parts.

And the Soundcloud version:

Please feel free to comment below – but keep it civil… And please look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page, check us out on Instagram – @RugbyWrapUp – and follow us on Twitter@: @RugbyWrapUp, @Matt Ryan, @MeetTheMatts, @Junoir Blaber @Luke Bienstock, @Ronan Nelson, @Brian C Cole, @Zack Stryfeller and @DeclanYeats.

*Thanks to the PRO, Darrell Knowlton, Time Warner Sports and Americas Rugby News.

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About the Author ()

Matt McCarthy comes to from their partner in the USA, RWU and MTM feature a stable of diverse contributors, with coverage that is both serious and with a wink. Find him on twitter: @Matt_McCarthy00

  • 3rd Half Harry

    Jesus. What a bloody mess you Yanks have on your hands!

    • Becci Himes

      It’s what we do best! Unfortunately.

  • Tony Ridnell

    Nice work seeking to get both sides story out. Looking forward to hearing the PRO reply. And yes, “3rd Half Harry”, we do!! Also, hearing Paul speak is much more compelling than any transcribed version.

    • Junoir Blaber

      Well said!!

    • Michael Sagehorn

      Paul Keeler has high standards of integrity. He’s a former Marine and knows that while accomplishing your mission you also”look after your people.” He’s doing that in the tradition of players first, coaches second.

      If the California Labor Board rules on the complaint a likely awful consequence could/would be to pull the San Diego team’s business/State Board of Qualization and Workers Compensation permit.

      Pay players and the coaches, Mr. Schoninger!

      • LongLad4

        I agree, mate.

  • Wallabies Have Two

    All set-ups have a rough go from the start. Remember that players weren’t protected in your American sports from the onset. Baseball was around forever before owners were held in check. Hope it works out.

    • HedgeMan

      I smoked a bowl and watched the video and liked it more.

      • Junoir Blaber

        You must live in California or Colorado.

  • Bret Costain

    Beautiful graphics. Great and important interview. More transparency is essential and this series of interviews is critical. Looking forward to more.

  • Doug Lyons

    What a strange saga.

    There were bound to be missteps and errors in the process of building this league. A real leader would look at the SF experience and learn from it.

    Schoninger seems far more concerned with the exclusivity deal than internal issues that could have been handled far better. Keeper is man enough to say he made mistakes but learned from them.

    Schoninger should have focused on learning from year one, put forward a great year two and THEN gone to USA rugby and asked for an extension of the exclusivity.

  • Peter Evans

    This is America. As I was once told when I first came over. Get everything in writing for the day you are shafted. Of course we are all impressed and congratulatory that he had the balls to start a pro league. He did something that our fearless ex-leader, Mediocre Melvin, was nowhere near to starting. To this day I cannot understand how Big Bash cricket from provincial New Zealand gets more hours on TV than rugby. We are cluelass.

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