2015 has seen Rugby Union stray into unchartered territories around the globe, particularly Japan. However, there are ongoing efforts to penetrate the American market, with the US Eagles hosting New Zealand in Soldier Field, Chicago last November. In fact, such is the brand of the All-Blacks there that they look set to return to the ‘Windy City’ next year to take on Ireland.
It has been announced today that London Irish will play their Aviva Premiership ‘home’ fixture against Saracens in New York this coming March. The game will be played at the Red Bull Arena, home of MLS franchise New York Red Bull, which can hold up to 25,000.
The Chief Executive of Premiership Rugby, Mark McCafferty, said: “This is a significant day in the history of Premiership Rugby and one that has taken a number of years and a lot of hard work to bring to fruition. Premiership Rugby is the most competitive league in world rugby with a fast-growing following outside England and we are delighted to stage a competitive match in the USA.
“There are ambitious plans to grow the game in the States and this is the latest stage in that strategy. I’d like to thank both London Irish for their support and vision in making this bold step as well as Saracens and our partners; The Legacy Agency Inc and USA Rugby. We firmly believe this will be a great success and will showcase live Aviva Premiership Rugby to a new audience.”
This is a major step forward for the sport the other side of the Atlantic, and something that they will be hoping to make more regular looking into the future.
The game is set for Saturday March 12th, on a day when Ireland will host Italy and England face Wales in the 6 Nations.