LAFAYETTE, Colo. – The USA Men’s Eagles will follow “The Rugby Weekend Presented by AIG” with a November trip to Europe, where they will play Romania and Tonga to end the calendar year.
John Mitchell’s national team will kick off the end-of-year test window early with its match against the visiting New Zealand Maori All Blacks at Toyota Park Friday, Nov. 4, as part of the exciting weekend in Chicago. From there the Eagles will travel to Bucharest for a Nov. 12 matchup against Romania at Stadionul Arcul de Triumf before a Nov. 19 date with Tonga at Estadio Anoeta in Spain. The rankings tests will be the final matches played by the Eagles until the Americas Rugby Championship starts again in February 2017.
“Three challenging matches in a row will serve the Eagles well as the team builds consistency in systems and depth heading into a crucial Rugby World Cup-qualifying year,” USA Rugby General Manager of National Teams and Performance Alex Magleby said. “We look forward to a great home crowd against a fast, aggressive, high-quality opponent in the Maori in Chicago.”
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The Eagles have hosted the Maori All Blacks twice in their history, both losses on this side of the Pacific Ocean. Future World Cup-winning All Blacks Cory Jane and Liam Messam scored multiple tries apiece for the Maori All Blacks in their first visit to the U.S. in 2006, while the Americans gave their opponents a much sterner test in the 2013 matchup at a sold-out PPL Park in Philadelphia.
In just its first year of existence, Toyota Park welcomed the Eagles to Chicago in 2006 for a match against a professional Irish club. Two years later, it was home to the Churchill Cup Finals Day, where the U.S. and five additional international teams played three matches in front of a riveted crowd. “The Rugby Weekend Presented by AIG” will see rugby return to the 18,000-seat stadium Friday, Nov. 4, with the New Zealand All Blacks and Ireland set to play their own international rugby match in Chicago Saturday, Nov. 5.
Mitchell’s squad will travel to Romania for the first time since 2014, and third time since 2012, for a full rankings test against the home side. The Eagles have only ever lost one match to Romania – in pool play at Rugby World Cup 1999 – and won the other six matchups by an average of nearly 20 points. Their last trip to Bucharest, with Stadionul Arcul de Triumf the venue, resulted in a win and, just as important, four new international caps in the lead-up year to Rugby World Cup 2015.
The Eagles will meet the Sea Eagles of Tonga on neutral ground at Basque country’s Estadio Anoeta the third weekend of November. The match will be the third consecutive between the two sides to have been played at a neutral venue following last year’s Pacific Nations Cup clash in Toronto and a fall 2014 meeting in England. Including a defeat to Tonga in a Rugby World Cup 2007 pool stage encounter in France, the Eagles have lost seven of eight matches to the current No. 15 in World Rugby’s rankings.
Broadcast information for all three November internationals, including “The Rugby Weekend Presented by AIG,” will be announced at a later date. Tickets remaining for the Eagles’ match against the New Zealand Maori All Blacks can be purchased via Ticketmaster.
Men’s Eagles | November Tour
v. Maori All Blacks (“The Rugby Weekend Presented by AIG“) – Friday, Nov. 4 @ 8 p.m. ET – Toyota Park (Chicago)
v. Romania – Saturday, Nov. 12 @ 11 a.m. ET – Stadionul Arcul de Triumf (Bucharest, Romania)
v. Tonga – Saturday, Nov. 19 @ 11 a.m. ET – Estadio Anoeta (San Sebastián, Spain)