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All Blacks set to start November tour with trip to the US

New Zealand will face the Eagles in Soldier Field, Chicago – home of the Bears in the NFL.

Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Dan Carter and Ma'a Nonu are stars of the game.
Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Dan Carter and Ma'a Nonu are stars of the game.

NEW ZEALAND WILL travel to Chicago in November to play the US Eagles in what both teams are calling an ‘historic’ Test match.

The All Blacks have faced the US just twice before in official Test games, with this set to be the first meeting between the sides on American soil since 1980. Securing such a high-profile visitor represents a major step forward for rugby in the States.

With the encounter to take place in the 61,000-capacity Soldier Field – the home of NFL franchise the Chicago Bears – on the 1st of November, USA Rugby will be expecting a large crowd.

The All Blacks most recent meeting with the US, at the 1991 Rugby World Cup, ended in a 46-6 victory, and Steve Hansen’s men will be confident of another strong win on this occasion.

Growing sport

Speaking about the fixture, Kiwi captain Richie McCaw underlined the athletic potential of a country like the US.

You look at the calibre of athletes you see playing basketball and NFL and if they put some real energy into rugby, there would be a fairly big pool to choose from. A lot of people don’t know about the All Blacks in the US so it will be great to play a game there and show what rugby is all about.”

Meanwhile, USA Rugby Chief Executive Nigel Melville underlined his organisation’s pleasure at having secured such a prestigious and rare fixture.

“Rugby is growing rapidly in America and to have the best team in the world and wonderful ambassadors for the game playing on our home soil for the first time in 34 years will be great for the game here.”

Interestingly, the All Blacks’ recent history does not include record of fixtures against any of the Pacific Islands, despite Fiji, Samoa and Tonga having provided so many All Blacks. That fact will leave some questioning this trip to the US.

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Murray Kinsella

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