USA Eagles to play New Zealand Maori All Blacks

USA Eagles to play New Zealand Maori All Blacks


BOULDER, CO – USA Rugby President & CEO Nigel Melville traveled today to Philadelphia to announce that international rugby is coming to Philadelphia. The USA Eagles will play the New Zealand Maori All Blacks in the inaugural match on November 9, 2013 at PPL Park. American International Group, Inc. (NYSE: AIG), Official Sponsor of both USA Rugby and New Zealand Rugby, will be title sponsor of this historic competition, uniting these prestigious global rugby brands on North American soil.

The announcement came at a press conference held at the Global Rugby Forum, a forum that brings together domestic and international business and sports media executives meeting to discuss the growth of rugby and international sports in North American markets. As the fastest growing sport in the world, rugby is on the radar screen of international businesses that are looking to reach new markets amidst the exponential growth of rugby throughout the United States. Currently, there are over 1.13 million rugby participants living in the United States and currently 115,000 active members of USA Rugby with over 700 senior club teams, 850 college teams, 900 high school teams and 500 plus youth teams across America.

Nigel Melville, said: "The Maori All Blacks have a proud rugby tradition that makes them one of the most iconic rugby brands in the world of rugby. It is our goal to increase the quality of opponents for the Eagles and to expose our domestic fans to world-class international rugby events. We are extremely thankful for the partnership and commitment AIG has made to grow and develop rugby in America – this is truly a unique opportunity for us all.”

The Maori All Blacks promise to bring the highest level of competition. New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said, “These games represent an exciting opportunity to take a special New Zealand team to North America.”

"The Maori All Blacks have a unique history in rugby combined with a rich cultural identity. We had a wonderful taste of the style of rugby played by both Canada and USA when they played here in Rugby World Cup 2011. New Zealanders got behind both teams during that tournament, which really added to the experience of players.” The Maori All Blacks will also face Canada's National Senior Men's rugby team one week before the USA on November 3, 2013 at Toronto's BMO Field.

Robert Schimek, President and Chief Executive Officer of AIG Property Casualty’s Americas region said of the announcement, “the meeting of these two teams for the first time in the Northeast represents a tremendous milestone for the sport of rugby, and is an embodiment of AIG’s ongoing global commitment to the sport. We are proud to stand behind both teams, and are thrilled to partner together to support the advancement of the sport of rugby around the world.”

Philadelphia is centrally located in the Mid-Atlantic region with nearly 6,000 active rugby players (and growing) from Washington, DC to New York. PPL Park in Chester, PA was built for the Philadelphia Union Major League Soccer franchise with rugby in mind and has played host to national collegiate invitational rugby tournaments as well as youth and high school rugby.

According to Melville, “Philadelphia is unquestionably a passionate sports town and our decision to bring this first, of hopefully many, international matches to Philadelphia made good sense. PPL Park is a great place to play and watch rugby – fans will see fast paced action, hard hits and our national team at its best against one of the world’s best.”

The press conference and luncheon were co-hosted by Rugby Pennsylvania, USA Rugby’s partner for youth and high school rugby across the state. Board Chairman John McNichol commented, “AIG is doing great work in promoting not just the highest level of rugby competition but also in growing the game from the ground up. AIG’s sponsorship of USA Rugby’s Rookie “Rugby in a Box” program allows us to reach thousands of young athletes – many of them from disadvantaged communities. On the importance of the USA Eagles coming to town, McNichol added “The USA Rugby Eagles playing in the back yard of our Philadelphia Eagles presents an amazing opportunity for us to introduce the game to thousands of new fans and reward our passionate rugby community for their years of commitment to the sport they love.”

Please apply for media credentials for this event here.

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Comments (25)

  • Guest - kiwijaggernaut

    Its going to be a bad day at the office for the USA Eagles. I hope they are ready for some expansive display of rugby from our NZ Maoris. Did you know that the NZ Maoris are only getting together in camp 5 days before they play their first match against Canada and than USA after, and I guarantee you that they will still look fluid as if they have been playing together for a while. USA coaches getting dropped, before a crucial match and all can be a disaster, but definitely in our favour...Sorry USA Eagles, you guys are going to get smoked. Be ready for the biggest beatdown of your lives. Come on New Zealand. Kia Kaha bros.

  • Guest - Mikaere

    In reply to: Guest - kiwijaggernaut

    C'mon bro steady on its all about enjoying the occasion and growing the game they play in heaven and to inspire young Americans to pick up an oval shaped ball and just run like you wouldn't believe. This by far could be worth more then what anyone can only imagine. The player base alone is just a start.....Tap in to that and she may well take off, the more the merrier I say....American Eagles go hard play tight nothing flashy slow their ball down kick for territory strong de and nail your opportunities'. All the Best my game of the year that and pouncing the poms .

  • Guest - Cody

    The maori allblacks do a different haka to the allblacks them self so don't get to excited if yous were expecting to see the traditional haka that's normally done

  • Guest - friedchicken

    There is no such thing as a 2nd string All Black team, the Maori All Blacks are a quality side and the US team will lose nothing from playing this team, it has been known that some all blacks do travel with this side, the level of intensity and skill is high quality, lets watch which team will last the full 80 minutes at fast pace, paramedics on stand-by.

  • Guest - Ted

    Where can I watch this on Television?