Premier Rugby Sevens/USA Rugby Release
USA Rugby today announced an official sanctioning agreement with Premier Rugby Sevens (PR7s) as the highest level of domestic seven-a-side rugby. As part of the partnership, the two organizations will launch the Talent Transfer Project, which is designed to welcome high performance athletes in other sports into the USA Eagle and Premier Rugby Sevens pathway. The initiative looks to expand on rugby sevens recruitment of crossover athletes like Naya Tapper and Perry Baker, who have signed with PR7s. The first year will make two stops across the southern region of the United States starting September 26 in Charlotte, NC with athlete registration now open. While the TTPs will target crossover athletes from other sports, PR7s will also host an open trail for rugby-experienced players on September 12 in Memphis, TN.
As part of the agreement, USA Rugby will sanction all league events including the Talent Transfer Project camps and inaugural championship in Memphis, TN at AutoZone Park on October 9. PR7s will feature several stars from the USA Men’s and Women’s National Sevens Teams following their appearance at the Tokyo Olympic Games. The new professional league will provide equal pay, regardless of gender, along with high-performance access under one league umbrella.
USA Rugby Women’s High Performance Director, Emilie Bydwell noted, “We are incredibly excited to partner with PR7s to present the Talent Transfer Project. While our age grade programs are actively identifying and developing existing rugby talent, we recognize that it is critical to continue to recruit talented athletes from other sports, complementing the progress that is being made in our pathway. The Talent Transfer Project enables us to implement a systematic approach to this talent recruitment as we look towards the 2024 & 2028 Olympic Games.“
PR7s OPEN TRIAL & TALENT TRANSFER PROJECT DATES
Sept. 12, Memphis, TN, REGISTER NOW Open Trial (rugby experienced players)
Sept. 26, Charlotte, NC, REGISTER NOW Talent Transfer Project Camp
Oct. 3 – 9, Memphis, TN, REGISTER NOW Talent Transfer Project Camp
With a majority of today’s USA Eagles Sevens finding rugby through other sports, the Talent Transfer Project will seek out similar crossover players in the above athlete-rich locations with under-resourced rugby infrastructure. The mission of the camps will be to identify top athletic talent with an interest in exploring rugby, educate them on the vast opportunities and place the most promising recruits in high performance rugby environments, including regional clubs and USA Rugby National Development Programs. All leading to the next generation of USA Eagles Sevens and Premier Rugby Sevens players.
“Supporting the development of pathways from the grassroots level to the professional game is a key objective of PR7s, particularly in the women’s game” said Mike Tolkin, General Manager of Premier Rugby Sevens. “We could not be more excited to partner with Emilie Bydwell and USA Rugby on the Talent Transfer Project, and to support the phenomenal efforts of our ambassador Naya Tapper.”
An All American athlete and track star from Charlotte, NC, Naya Tapper found rugby at West Mecklenburg High School and continued playing at the University of North Carolina. As one of the fastest wings in rugby sevens, Tapper’s athletic talents in track were clear crossover advantages on the rugby pitch. In 2016, Tapper debuted on the World Rugby Sevens Series in São Paulo, Brazil, eventually leading her to selection on Team USA during the Tokyo Olympics.
When reflecting on her transition into rugby, Tapper added, “I had never played a hand-eye coordination sport when I first found rugby. My speed I gained from track and my natural size allowed me to crossover easily physically wise. Skill wise, it took a little while to get a hang of passing and catching, but once I did, the rugby world opened up for me. I joined my rugby club team for fun, to try something new but learned really quickly that a professional level existed in the US and that it was an Olympic sport. That was the day I fully committed to the sport and it was the best decision I’ve made in my life so far. “
Registration is now open for interested crossover athletes looking to explore the rugby experience, all inquiries can go HERE.
About Premier Rugby Sevens
Premier Rugby Sevens (PR7s) is a groundbreaking professional sports league in North America. Scheduled to debut in the Fall of 2021, PR7s is the first league of its kind with both women’s teams and men’s teams under one umbrella with equal pay. With a focus on accessibility and entertaining content for fans, the league will showcase the electrifying sport of rugby sevens through a single-day touring format in cities across the United States and Canada. The PR7s Inaugural Championship will take place in Memphis on Oct. 9 and will be available via FOX Sports. To learn more about Premier Rugby Sevens, go to PRSevens.com and follow the league on Twitter, Instagram,Facebook, and LinkedIn.