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Friday, February 5, 2016

U.S. To Play Maori All Blacks In November

The Eagles missed out on playing at Tier I nation next fall in Europe but they will get a chance to take on a team from a Tier I nation. World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper tweeted out today that World Rugby has approved a match between the Eagles and the Maori All Blacks on November 4th in Chicago. That match comes one day before New Zealand play Ireland at Soldier Field. It's assumed that the U.S. will go on tour to Europe after the match. However, the match falls outside the three main weekend's of the November window so there will be questions about which players can gain a release from their club. Just because World Rugby approves a match doesn't mean it falls under the release rules.

The match makes sense for the U.S. for a couple of reasons. First, the All Blacks bring a lot of commercial value as we saw in 2014. However, because they will be playing Ireland there won't be as much money heading back the Eagles way. By having the team play the Maori All Blacks they get another shot at revenue and they are hoping that enough fans turn out to Toyota Park the day before to get a good crowd. Second, they need high-level opponents and the Maori All Blacks certainly provide that. 


  1. Not so sure this is a great idea. USA v Moari would have been a good curtain raiser, but having this match on the same weekend at a venue most Chicago area people try to avoid seems a little off.

  2. It's perfect for out of towners. If it was on separate weekends, I would be forced to make a choice in which event I'd attend, and you know that would be NZ v. Ireland. Now I can go to both, depending on the Eagles roster and price of the ticket.

  3. For out of Towner's, please be aware Toyota field is not as accessible as Soldier Field. Be prepared to rent a car if you are flying in.