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Rugby, the worlds’ contact sport, is played in over 100 countries on 6 continents by men and women of all ages. What surprises most sports enthusiasts in America is that the Rugby World Cup is the 3rd most watched sporting event in the world, only behind the FIFA World Cup and the Summer Olympic Games.

The success of rugby in America has been referred to as the “sleeping giant” that would considerably improve world rugby because of its large athletic population, affluent consumer base, successful professional sports franchises, and a deep connection to major international businesses.

Through the lens of award winning filmmaker Sylvain Doreau, the essence, spirit, and challenges of American rugby are captured at all levels from youth to the USA Men's National Team. This documentary takes you on a journey from Olympic glory in the 1920's, to rugby's 50 year hibernation in the US, to the USA Eagles capturing the hearts of all rugby fans at the 2007 World Cup in France.

American rugby today is about a few hundred thousand passionate players, coaches, referees, administrators and fans sharing the love they have for the game and developing that giant into the international powerhouse of the past. This is their story of passion, commitment, sacrifice, hope and success.

With highlights of key events and interviews with players, coaches, and administrators, “A Giant Awakens” is a "must see" for any sports fan.

Help the next generation of American rugby Olympians defend the gold.  Buy your copy of “A Giant Awakens” and share your love of the game with new players and supporters.  Volume pricing available for resale or team fundraising.

20% of the films profits go to support youth rugby in America.




“A Giant Awakens: The Rise of American Rugby” has gone through numerous phases in its development.  The HD sports documentary initially planned to include a very brief introduction about American rugby history and then connect with the USA Eagle’s qualifying for the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Few people in the US are aware that Gridiron American football evolved from rugby.  Virtually no one knows that rugby was the number 1 collegiate sport in the US in the early 1900’s, that rugby was ever in the Olympics, and the US is the reigning gold medal winners.  Some have no clue the sport even exists.  This is a fascinating and unheralded part of US sports history that director Sylvain Doreau wanted to uncover. Surprisingly, the main source of documents was not in the US, but in France. 

Thanks to the rugby blog community, Sylvain found a French collector, Frederic Humbert, who has one of the most complete blogs about rugby history ( Sylvain sent him an email requesting anything related to US rugby history.  To his surprise, Frederic uncovered dozen of rare photos prints of the early days of rugby in the US.

 This fantastic collection of pre-WW1 college rugby photos when the collegiate finals could bring 35,000 spectators to a rugby game in the US.   He also had an extensive collection of photos from the 1920 and 1924 Olympics and connected Sylvain with an Olympic historian, Pierre Vitalien, who wrote a book (in French) about rugby at the Olympics. Sylvain also filmed at the University of California, Berkeley Club house, a goldmine of rugby memorabilia. 

 While the photos were incredible, this was a film and not a slide show.  Somewhere there had to be footage filmed at the Olympics.  Then Frederic Humbert mentioned to Sylvain that he recently bought some old 8mm newsreels from 1924 at an auction that may include footage of the Olympic final.  Sylvain immediately jumped on the opportunity and Frederic graciously printed and digitized the newsreels in a specialized lab in Paris.

 When Sylvain downloaded the footage sent by Frederic, he cried of joy. With Frederic, Sylvain helped uncover an amazing piece of sports history!  Beside few scratches, the print is incredibly detailed, and the action is filmed from the sideline and behind the posts.  It has an incredible emotional power, like "Chariots of Fire", like you're actually running with these guys!   Also, you can see from the build of the American players, that that team, composed of Californian college players, was made of exceptional athletes.

 The historical footage totally changed the direction of the project, and there is now a 10mn intro on US rugby history.  We also included more interviews about the inclusion of Sevens Rugby for the 2016 Olympics.


The US 1924 Gold medal winners. The captain Colby "Babe" Slater holding the team mascot "Cali" before the Olympic final against France.