There's like, uh, 4 different things when we're talking value of the US to rugby. 1) Value to any nation/club hosting a 1-off exhibition match there. The All Blacks have established there is value to this (although I suspect a lot of it is money from the sponsors). Saracens got 14k (officially) for their game, so there's clearly potential for club games. The niche is big enough for the USA to matter already here and I suspect we'll see this grow. 2) Value to World Rugby of holding a World Cup there My take, based on the Americans I've met, is you could do it tomorrow and have a partial success as long as you sort out potential clashes with the NFL. Yes, the stadiums would be full of casuals, but I've met enough Americans with a passing interest in the sport - or every sport put in front of them - or just curiousities and new things, going to the big circus in town - that I believe you would fill those stadiums. World Rugby would get its money back alright. However - in terms of converting casuals into established fans - I think you keep your powder dry and look to keep interest in the game growing there. I do think there is growing interest in the game though. Of course a big part of turning casuals into established fans is giving them a product to follow after the circus goes away... 3) Value to league/competition selling TV rights there This is a hard one. Can you sell foreign sports to the USA? Yes, although its a bit difficult. NBC paid a billion for the USA rights for showing football's Premiership. How many Americans do you need to get into rugby before you can sell the 6N/RC/Super Rugby etc.etc. there for, say, 5 million a season? That's really not a lot of money at all but that's still worth talking about for most competitions. Rough figures suggest that a lot of football Premiership games are watched by over a million people over there. So - say you get over 100,000 people to watch a rugby game - that would be 100m on a like for like. Quarter that - less games, less flagship appeal - and that's 25m for 6 seasons. So... around my mark of 5m a season, bit under. Conservatively, a rugby league needs to attract about 200,000 - 300,000 viewers a game. The 2014 College Rugby Championship final had 427,000 viewers. Is getting 200,000-300,000 Americans - two thirds of that audience - to watch a higher standard of rugby and create an emotional investment there on a regular basis an impossible ask? I don't think so although its also not easy either. Getting people to watch the one off big event is easy. Getting them to commit regularly is hard. 4) Value of a professional rugby competition in America And here's the hardest of all. Like... man, I don't want to even think about it. Part of me wonders at what point Super Rugby tries to put a franchise in California (surely they're thinking about it). But the good news for all of us non-Americans is that its pretty much irrelevant to the US's value to World Rugby. We don't want them watching their own product, we want them watching ours. I think the signs are good for suggesting that's happening and there is a significant if small commercial windfall to be made short term. And what is a nice bonus for us English is a big difference for our less population rich rivals. --- Back to the rugby. I did a search through the first pages of this thread looking to see if anyone was talking about Aaron Smith as a mistake. No one was, so maybe a little knee jerk. At the same time, I have heard the occasional comment to the effect that he's not so great when things get physical around the fringes/you want him to kick. Can't really comment on the kicking as he does so little but he does seem a bit of a scrum-half that wants things all his own way. Think I remember mutterings about this after the Argentina game. Its not all suddenly decided upon on one game. Will be interesting to see what Hansen does. Henshaw's case for a World XV lies in no small part on the dearth of outstanding 12s. Crotty is a superb role player but I don't think he's any more. Jamie Roberts is the walking dead. Farrell probably isn't a good enough all around player. I keep forgetting what sport SBW plays, ALB is very new... I don't think Henshaw's got the track record to be talked about as a World XV player but as the same time he's really effective, doesn't bring a weakness, and has a track record. Good choice to shadow Giteau though. Definitely don't think Stander has the track record to be in the discussion, not when there's so much established quality around. The joy of comparing Murray with Smith is they're examples of two very different types of scrum-halves. Which one you put in a World XV I think depends on what you want from your 9. I don't think too many people were making the comparison before the game though, rightly or wrongly.