USA Rugby forms partnership with Golden Oldies 

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Nearly 40 years’ New Zealand experience is set to give one of the world’s largest potential rugby markets a significant boost.

An agreement between New Zealand-based Vintage Sport and Leisure (VSL), the owner of Golden Oldies Rugby, Vintage Rugby and the World Schools Rugby Challenge, and USA Rugby aims to help increase participation and awareness in community and youth rugby in the United States.

USA Rugby CEO Ross Young says the sport in the United States is all about one word – growth.  “Evidenced by the Rugby World Cup Sevens success, the United States is beginning to see real movement in the development of the game on the global stage,” said Young.  “Our agreement with VSL is key to continuing that trajectory and achieve targets in the club and youth programs.” 

New Zealander Adriaan Ferris, former North Harbour player and currently Sports Director at a Life West University in San Fransisco says community and youth rugby in the United States is capable of growing to the level of that in New Zealand.

“Events which VSL will introduce and manage in the United States will provide an organised structured sport for those who want to remain in the game to enjoy not only playing a sport they love but the camaraderie and community involvement it brings,” said Adriaan. 

As part of its partnership with USA Rugby, VSL will establish sanctioned USA Golden Oldies (Masters) Rugby Series divisions for teams and players in the World Rugby-endorsed age brackets of 35+, 45+, 50+ and 60+.  The event will support the consolidation of mature rugby in the United States and will establish a range of regional and local rugby festivals compatible with Golden Oldies and incorporate existing tournaments that wish to join the circuit.

VSL will also introduce the World Schools Rugby Challenge offering United States high schools the opportunity to participate in rugby tournaments that aim to encourage increasing numbers of 13 to 19 year olds to play the sport.

VSL Executive Director, Peter McDermott says his company is delighted with the agreement and exciting growth opportunities it provides.  “It has been a long journey. We started discussions with USA Rugby about three years ago and we could not be more delighted that the 23rd Golden Oldies World Rugby Festival will be held in Denver in 2020, signalling a key milestone in the global growth of the Golden Oldies and vintage/veteran rugby movement.”

The USA Rugby programme will be managed on behalf of VSL by San Francisco-based Kiwi Lloyd Gilmore.  “Lloyd has been on the ground for VSL in the USA for more than a year and has been instrmental in bringing the partnership together,” says Peter.

The agreement with USA Rugby follows recent informal endorsements from the Welsh and English Rugby Unions with upcoming regional festivals scheduled for Cardiff and London, and according to Peter is a fitting way to mark 40 years of Golden Oldies Rugby.

Founded in New Zealand in 1979, Golden Oldies rugby started as a way to keep people in the game after their competitive playing days had finished.  The combination of participation, sociability and travel that has become the hallmark of Golden Oldies rugby has resulted in a phenomenon that now reaches into more than 25 countries.

Originally owned by Air New Zealand, the Golden Oldies brand was purchased by VSL in 2012.

For further information please contact:

United States
Lloyd Gilmore, USA Representative,,
tel: 001 (415) 999 5037

New Zealand
Simon Brady, CEO, VSL,
tel: +64 21 386 291