Is Houston Ready For A Major League Rugby Franchise?

Houston could soon have its own major league rugby team next year — the Houston Strikers.

By Eddie RobinsonApril 25, 2017 9:30 am| , , ,

From Houston Public Media

The city of Houston could soon have its very own major league rugby team next year — the Houston Strikers.

As the popularity of rugby grows nationwide, could that interest translate into a growing Houston fan base?

Thirty-one-year-old rugby fan and Houston engineer, Mathew Oliver, thinks so. He says the city’s diversity offers up a great backdrop for the sport.

“There’s such a big ‘ex-pat’ community that gets largely driven by the energy industry,” says Oliver, “and that brings in a lot of people from countries where rugby is a bit more ingrained in the culture – people start playing at a younger age, [from] the UK, Australia or South Africa.”

Oliver co-founded the Houston United Rugby Team (also known as HURT), one of the largest social rugby clubs in Greater Houston – but when asked his thoughts about a major league rugby franchise?

“I guess I just say that I’m cautiously optimistic,” states the rugger. “There’s been some different attempts in the past to form “professional” rugby leagues that have not worked out. But I’m all for anything that helps grow the sport of rugby in America and definitely a legitimate professional league can do a lot for that.”

Jeremy Turner, president of the Houston Strikers, sees that growth increasing here in the city. He says Houston has hosted ‘test-run’ rugby matches for years with thousands of fans in attendance.

Read more.