(CNN)Bringing professional rugby to the Big Apple has been no mean feat. So when Rugby United New York takes to the field for its first competitive game in Major League Rugby, away to San Diego Legion on January 27, there will be a smile on one man’s face.
“There have been a couple of lessons in doing this,” says club owner and chairman James Kennedy, with just a splash of understatement.
It is the second year of the MLR, but New York is in its first. Ireland-born Kennedy, sole owner of construction management company Murphy Kennedy Group, had originally eyed an American franchise for Europe’s Guinness Pro12 rugby competition (now the Pro14). But after pivoting to MLR, the race was on to create a brand unique to NYC.