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All Blacks to play United States Test in Chicago

Date
"Tactically, obviously when you have a different opposition - in any sport - you have got to appreciate what they do": Steve Hansen.

"Tactically, obviously when you have a different opposition - in any sport - you have got to appreciate what they do": Steve Hansen. Photo: Getty Images

The All Blacks will play the United States in Chicago on November 1 in their first Test on American soil for 34 years.

The world champions will play at Soldier Field, the oldest NFL stadium and home to the Chicago Bears. It will be the first time the venue with a capacity of 61,500 has hosted a rugby Test.

The match falls two weeks after the third Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia in Brisbane and will be the first on New Zealand's end of year tour, preceding Tests against England, Scotland and Wales.

The All Blacks have played the US three times in their history, registering three comfortable wins.

They won 51-13 in California in 1913, 53-6 in San Diego in 1980 in a game which didn't have Test status and 46-6 in a pool game at the 1991 World Cup in Gloucester.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen says he relishes the opportunity for his team to return to the US, even if it is against opponents ranked 18th in the world.

"Having the chance to play in the States itself and particularly in Chicago, a city with so much sporting history, as well, is really exciting," he said.

"Tactically, obviously when you have a different opposition - in any sport - you have got to appreciate what they do and what they bring and make sure you have got the tools in the toolbox to combat that."

USA Rugby chief executive Nigel Melville said the match, which will be televised by US broadcaster NBC, will boost rugby's profile considerably in the country.

He expects it to draw the biggest crowd to a Test in the US.

"We have no doubt the All Blacks will raise the level of play for the Eagles as they prepare for the World Cup and create a special event for rugby supporters around the world."

The match mirrors the nature of the All Blacks' Test against Japan in Tokyo last year, won 54-6, in which Hansen fielded several fringe players.

A New Zealand Rugby statement said the Test was "made possible" by the support of its chief sponsor and US insurance company AIG.

AAP

10 comments so far

  • Chicago in November, if we're lucky we'll get snow :)

    Commenter
    Ghris
    Date and time
    May 14, 2014, 9:16AM
    • Fantastic! Rugby is the fastest growing sport in the States and I hear they are well on their way to being a big contender for Gold at the Olympics. Great for World Rugby and great for the US.

      Commenter
      Brett
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 14, 2014, 10:56AM
      • @ Brett... Yeh mate you have that right, as rugby is the fastest growing sport in the States. Even the seven's side of the game is making big steps, but then again, they are not quite at the top level, to be really competitive with the likes of New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji, England and even Australia, along with a few other countries. It was very noticeable at the HK seven's this year, as to how much the Yanks have improved. Then again, there is a lot of countries on the improve, due to seven's now being an Olympic sport.

        Commenter
        Muzzo
        Location
        Orange
        Date and time
        May 14, 2014, 2:54PM
      • You didn't mean USA for gold, surely you meant New Zealand.

        Commenter
        sod98
        Date and time
        May 14, 2014, 3:03PM
      • @sod98 NZ for gold definitely but don't underestimate the USA. They will be right up there. They are putting a lot of funding in to both their Men's and Women's 7s sides for the Olympics and they will be a contender for a medal. 7's also has a huge following in the states. This year and last year they had around 68,000 people turn out for the IRB tournament. And the APRC is not far away. If that get significant television rights there will be no stoping the US. They have the money, the population and the athletes to be seriously competitive.

        Commenter
        Brett
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        May 15, 2014, 3:51PM
    • I watched the Maori vs USA match last year when they played in Philadelphia and there seemed to be an awesome atmosphere there it could only amplify being the full All Black squad. Hopefully the US can play the game of their lives and make it a good one.

      Commenter
      shinobi
      Date and time
      May 14, 2014, 5:13PM
      • Great to see, how good with a West Coast American addition to the Super rugby tournament be!

        American rugby is a sleeping giant of world rugby, definitely got the player depth just a question of whether they can translate it onto the paddock.

        Commenter
        Wood duck
        Location
        bondi
        Date and time
        May 14, 2014, 8:24PM
        • The All Blacks will again dominate in 2014. BUT if they want to win the 2015 RWC they need to develop the team that "should" be there in 2015. Players are generally at their peak at around 26-28 maybe in some cases 30. After that most are on the way down from there. In the case of great players they are still better than most but 1/2 a step slower than their peak and much more of an injury risk. Yes they have the leadership, nouse, fortitude and honed decision making and big game experience but as they say Time & Tide waits for no man. We all get old. Rubgy is a young mans game. You can't deny the cold hard facts of physiology. To that end to give the next generation a chance to learn and galvianise as a team, learn a few hard earned lessons, maybe dare I say lose a Rugby Championship or Bledisoe in 2014 and learn to HATE losing. They need to NOT select this year anybody who will be 32 yrs and older in 2015. So that is McCaw 35, Carter 33, Conrad Smith 34, Mealamu 36, Woddcock 34, Ma'a Nonu 33, Weepu 32, Wyat Crockett 32, Adam Thomson 33, Ali Williams 34, Anthony Boric 32, Mulianina 35, Tialata 33, Kaino, Jimmy Cowan 33, John Afoa 32, Tamati Ellison 32, Corey Jane 32.
          QED

          Commenter
          QED
          Date and time
          May 14, 2014, 10:21PM
          • Thompson,Williams, Boric, Muliaina, Tialata, Cowan, Afoa & Ellison are all ineligible as they are not contracted to the NZRFU (or won't be in Muliaina's case). With the others experience can not be simply discounted. If they are one of the best in their position then select them & play them.

            Commenter
            Shane D
            Location
            Perth
            Date and time
            May 15, 2014, 4:16PM
        • Ooh, I would love to be in Chicago for the game. Yes, it will be cold. Yes, there could be snow. My question is about the surface. Professional American football is played on a very hard astro-turf surface that is not suitable for rugby, and is in fact very dangerous - lots of dislocated shoulders, which I know from experience.

          I would buy Foxtel if there was a Heineken Cup franchise in New York and a Super franchise in Los Angeles. That would be exciting. US rugby has immense potential - there are nearly 150,000 registered players there now. High schools are taking up rugby left, right and centre.

          A blockbuster stimulus for US rugby would be for the Springboks, Wallabies and All Blacks to play three games consecutively in three different cities against the US Eagles. It would do wonders for the game - little boys and girls everywhere would be asking to play. Of course, I know the All Blacks are on a different level when it comes to popularity in the USA.

          Commenter
          FredClark
          Location
          Wallendbeen
          Date and time
          May 15, 2014, 3:51PM

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