the USA and New Zealand men’s national teams have some games to play, October 23 looms large as a major fixture for both.
The 1874 Cup brings back the fixture that we first saw in the modern game in 2014—the famed All Blacks v USA. Yes, true, the All Blacks are favored—it’s a rare game when they are not—but playing in the USA is an important nod to their many fans on US shores, It’s also a way to broaden their brand, and, for the players, it’s just plain fun. It’s different.
For the USA, it basically comes down to this: you can’t aspire to be the best if you don’t know the standard. Playing the great All Blacks is a way to a) raise the Eagles’ image by performing well, and b) to see how high the mountain is.
It’s also just a great event, and FedEx Field, the home of the NFL’s Washington Football Club, will also host West Point vs the US Naval Academy on the same day.
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Goff Rugby Report spoke with former All Black scrumhalf Andy Ellis, who now suits up for Rugby United New York in Major League Rugby. Ellis visited the stadium and DC to tout the event.
“The All Blacks have had great experiences playing in American stadiums,” said Ellis, who added that even losing to Ireland in 2016 was a special moment. “It’s going to be a fantastic week. The All Blacks will get to experience sport and entertainment in America and how well they do it here in the States, And, there are a lot of Kiwis in America and they get this chance to see their team in action.”
The All Blacks have a long, proud tradition of touring. It was way back in 1905 that the mighty “Originals” toured the United Kingdom and France and then played teams in the USA and Canada on the way back. New Zealand was happy to travel thousands of miles even when the only way to do it was weeks-long ocean trip.
Now, with air travel, it’s still difficult, but the All Blacks are happy to do it.
What’s different is, perhaps, the location. Washington DC carries with it its own history.
“The All Blacks are proud of the legacy they leave, but there are other legacies, too,” said Ellis. “And being in the States, and helping the game grow in the States, and also seeing the history of the city, I know the guys will be very proud to have played in that game.”
It’s a bucket list game, really.
“American is looking to host the 2031 Rugby World Cup, and you look at the USA and it’s a place where sports and entertainment have a lot of energy and excitement,” said Ellis. “But we’ve also got the monuments, the White House, the beautiful museums, and all the history there, too. I know it’s something all the guys will want to see. And at the end of it they get to play against the USA. There’s going to be great energy.”
Tickets for the USA vs All Blacks , a historic rugby test match in FedEx Field, are still available here>>