More than 10,000 people are expected to descend on Canton this summer for a night match between the U.S. Men’s National Rugby Team and Ireland’s Munster Rugby, the 2006 Heineken Cup champs and the top-ranked European team.
The Irish Cultural Centre of New England is hosting the Aug. 22 exhibition game, which will be broadcast live on ESPN Classic.
“New England has the largest concentration of college students playing rugby in the United States, and it is the first time in recent memory - and maybe ever - that an international rugby tourney will be held in Massachusetts,” said Sean Grant, executive director of the center, whose facilities include the home field of the top-ranked Boston Irish Wolfhounds amateur rugby team. “We’re potentially looking at 12,000 people coming to the event.”
Rugby in Ireland dates to the mid-1800s, and the International Rugby Board is based in Dublin. And while Harvard University played the first recorded rugby match on American soil against Montreal’s McGill University in 1874, rugby is still very much a developing sport stateside, with growing popularity among youth, high school and college players.
USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville sees the match as an opportunity for U.S. player development and to raise the sport’s profile in the United States. The USA Eagles is an amateur team, and its players have other full-time jobs.
“Our goal is to create a full-time professional team representing America,” Melville said. “We need to play against these teams to get our players to the right level to compete against the best in the world.”
The two teams played last year in Chicago, where some 9,000 fans watched Munster win 10-6.
Tickets to the USA-Munster match will be available through Ticketmaster starting May 30.
For Immediate Release
April 9, 2008
Eagles to Play
BOULDER, Colo. - USA Rugby officially announced today its plans to host Munster in what’s sure to be an exciting match-up featuring the U.S. Men’s National Rugby Team against the 2006 Heineken (European) Cup Champions and top ranked European Rugby Team (ERC), Munster Rugby. The event will be hosted by the Irish Cultural Centre of New England in
These two teams played each other last year in
“It’s obviously exciting to have
This is the first National Team Match that USA Rugby has hosted in the
“As an Irish umbrella organization for Irish Heritage and Culture, we are honored to have been chosen by USA Rugby to host this match between these two great teams at our 48 acre campus in
This event, which was also made possible by the help and cooperation from the local Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), which has agreed to hold the match on their main field, represents the first time they will host a rugby event in the
This match will showcase the improvements that are being made with the U.S. National Team as they will have had a whole summer under the tutelage of new coach Scott Johnson. Scott is an experienced player and coach who is renowned for his in-depth rugby mind. He has worked with the world’s top players and will bring enormous enthusiasm to his role and this match in particular.
“It’s important to note that this match is not just about the teams showing up and playing the game, it’s about the opportunities this match presents to develop the game of rugby on a whole,” Melville added. “With coach, referee and youth development opportunities, USA Rugby is looking forward to developing this into a legacy event. We are about furthering the growth of the game and a fixture like this can only help build upon our momentum forward.”
Tickets for this match will be available through Ticketmaster starting May 30. More information will be made available regarding group rates and prices, closer to that date.