All Blacks Set to Face the USA

Steve Hansen will take New Zealand to the USA in November

Rugby World Champions New Zealand will play the United States in Chicago in November, it has been announced.

The All Blacks will clash with the Eagles for the first time in 34 years on American soil on November 1 at Soldier Field before their European tour begins later in the month.

USA Rugby chief executive Nigel Melville said on "We have taken big steps to increase the profile of rugby in the United States with our international games drawing record crowds, but nothing on the scale of a match against the New Zealand All Blacks.

"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 All Blacks have only played the United States three times in their history, first in 1913 in California.

Following a second game in 1980, in San Diego, the sides last met at the 1991 World Cup in England.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said: "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.

"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."

Talking Rugby Union’s southern hemisphere correspondent, Scotty Donaldson brings you his thoughts, as a New Zealand fan, as to whether this is a good move…

“Two questions spring to mind:

“Is the USA ready for rugby?

“Should the All Blacks be playing in the USA before playing in the Pacific Islands?


“The USA is a huge market for rugby to try to penetrate and it seems now that rugby is at the Olympic Games, that the USA is an untapped resource. 

“We have seen former sprinter Carlin Isles on the IRB World Sevens circuit and, hopefully, bringing the All Blacks to the USA will help boost the profile of the sport and the calibre of its players.

“Rugby is mainly popular in colleges and so it would be great to get wider support in the USA. 

“Utilising Americans from other sports like American Football and basketball could help them become competitive in the sport – one which has plenty to offer since it is a professional sport offering the opportunity of attending the Olympic Games. 

“Sure, you would earn more in the NBA or NFL, but rugby can still offer decent money, especially for top level international players in Europe and Japan.

“Furthermore, the global brand of the All Blacks is becoming massive, while having insurance company AIG on the front of the All Blacks also makes America a tempting market since it is an American company. 

“It will be interesting to see which players take the field for the All Blacks,” Scotty continued. 

“It will most likely be a largely experimental combination since the USA Eagles struggled to beat the Maori All Blacks who are pretty much a third string New Zealand team. 

“For this game to be a success the match needs to be relatively close, but at the same time the All Blacks have a reputation to uphold and must take no prisoners. This means it could be a very one sided match. 

“I wonder if the All Blacks will take any orders to not win by too much.  If people see the home team getting a thrashing then it could put them off the sport altogether!”