Rugby players around the world have been peering over the fence, fascinated by what is potentially building in the United States.

The vast majority of us have our fingers firmly crossed, that a sustainable professional rugby model can be established stateside. 

Veteran players in Europe are out there rubbing their hands together. What an opportunity MLR (Major League Rugby) may provide to finish your playing years travelling the US, passing on your knowledge to enthusiastic apprentices, and perhaps pursuing some coaching options.

Young academy players, and those who've not yet broken in to the professional ranks, will also be hopeful. It may provide the chance to advance your development, while experiencing a new culture and playing in front of thousands of exuberant fans. 

It would certainly beat repping endless sets of bench press, and feeling as though the tackle bag you hold during first team sessions, may as well become surgically attached to your forearm. 

Who knows, you might not want to come back. 

Following on from The Guardian's recent article on MLR, which will kick off in April this year, I thought I'd give my old teammate Connor "Toady" Murphy a call, and see how he's finding it.

Connor is currently playing for the Houston Sabercats at scrum half, and has slotted in seamlessly, producing a Man of the Match performance in Houstons' recent pre season friendly against Uruguay.

Previously a member of the illustrious London Irish Academy, Connor decided to head across the Atlantic after an attractive offer from Houston, who've recruited very strongly, assembling a player roster that includes Olympic Gold Medal winning Sevens Captain Osea Kolinisau. 

"I'm absolutely loving it. Houston is a great city (Fourth largest in the US), We've got some great backers who've made their money in oil, and we've got a really strong squad."

Love the enthusiasm, but what's the standard like?

"I'd say Championship standard (England's second tier), but our recent match against Uruguay (ranked 18th in the world) was definitely the most physical match compared to our other pre season friendlies."

"There are some unbelievable athletes in our squad. We've got one 300 pound ex-American Footballer now playing in the front row, who runs like a winger. The blokes a freak."

And the skill level?

"It's a bit of a mix, we're trying to upskill the local lads before the season starts in April. We have 10 or 11 full time players, but the local guys are in the gym at 6.30am, and then doing a full days work." 

Do people know rugby?

"Yes surprisingly, it's the fastest growing sport in the US, and really big in Houston. They recognise the team if we're out for a beer, and come up and ask us loads of questions."

"I'm also the Sabercats Academy backs coach, and I do some community coaching at local schools, the kids are really into it and are quick learners."

All bodes well for a cracking start to MLR, with Houston recently breaking the national domestic rugby attendance record, drawing more than 5,000 fans to their victory over the Seattle Saracens in early January. 

Normally I'm a bit of a cynic, but Connor's enthusiasm is infectious. 

I am firmly hoping that the US can overcome the previous speed bumps of fan engagement, logistical complexities, and financial uncertainties, to develop a fully sustainable professional league.