Last week, Major League Rugby (MLR) announced an expanded format for the 2020 season, with the addition of three new teams, a 2 conference system along with a revised playoff format that culminates in a final against Western and Eastern champions next June.
The Glendale Raptors will be a part of the Western Conference, with Austin Elite, San Diego Legion, Utah Warriors, Houston SaberCats and the Seattle Seawolves. The Eastern Conference is comprised of NOLA Gold, Rugby United New York, Toronto Arrows and new members, Rugby ATL, Old Glory DC and the New England Free Jacks.
Next year’s schedule will include 10 matches, home and away against teams in the western conference, and also 3 home and 3 away matches against the members of the eastern conference.
“It’s tremendously exciting to see the continued growth of a new professional sporting league when many have faulted in their first year,” said Head Coach David Williams. “Growth year on year and continued performance improvement from teams and the overall league shows the strength and need for professional rugby in the US market. There are no easy games in the MLR and we’re thrilled to bring 3 new teams on the east coast to bring continued excitement to fans and players alike.”
Director of Rugby, Mark Bullock echoed similar sentiments, “We are looking forward to the addition of three new teams along the East Coast as we were under represented in that region of the USA. In addition the formation of an East and West conference will add to, and promote, regional rivalries, like the one between the Seawolves and Raptors. This can only be good for MLR and we embrace the change in the new conference configuration and additional competitive teams.”