I think when most Americans think of rugby, this is not what they're thinking of.
The proposed team is Rugby League, whereas most Americans who play the sport play Rugby Union.
Rugby League was originally developed in a dispute over paying the players, (Union remained strictly amateur until the 1990s or so,) and over the years various rules were adopted to make it more 'spectator friendly.' There are 6 'downs' and after a tackle play is restarted by kicking the ball backwards
IMO they were not successful, I've caught it a few times on TV, it's a lot less interesting, though the players and the hits are bigger.
I played rugby (union) in high school, but that was more than 20 years ago (so I'm not hyperpartisan about it.)
It's fairly popular in Australia, where its league broadcasts are among the top shows, and in Northern England, but that's about it.
Rugby Union, which vastly outranks League as a participation sport, draws pitiful US ratings and attendance. I have a hard time seeing how, absent a large Australian and/or Yorkshire/Lancashire expat community, Rugby League manages much of a crowd. There's also Pro/Rel, so we may be talking about 2nd division of an obscure regional code of world football.
The importance of the scrum is greatly reduced in Rugby League, so I'd guess its not quite as hard on the pitch, but there are a lot more field markings, it looks pretty much like a gridiron.