Sports

USA Rugby to Host Legendary New Zealand All Blacks in D.C. Oct. 23

The U.S. Men’s National Rugby Team, The Eagles, will host the most successful rugby team on the planet, the New Zealand All Blacks, for the first time ever in the District when they square off Saturday, Oct. 23 in the inaugural 1874 Cup, at FedExField. It will be the first time the All Blacks have played in the U.S. since 2016.

The 1874 Cup references the year rugby was first played in the U.S., a collegiate match between McGill and Harvard University. The 1874 Cup celebrates the long and ever-growing history the U.S. has with the game of rugby.

“Mayor Bowser is excited to welcome this major international rugby test match to Washington, D.C.,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “With our championship-winning teams and experience hosting major sporting events, DC is the Sports Capital. We look forward to joining residents and visitors in celebrating our rugby all-stars this fall.”

“As the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, Events DC is honored to partner with USA Rugby and Left Field Live to bring premier international rugby to DC,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive officer of Events DC.

“Our region is home to a robust and passionate rugby community at both amateur and professional levels,” he said. “The opportunity to host the iconic New Zealand All Blacks for the first time ever in our nation’s capital alongside USA Rugby will showcase Washington, DC as a dynamic, global sports destination to the world. Together with our partners at Old Glory DC, we look forward to attracting more world-class rugby to our nation’s capital including the Rugby World Cup.”

“This is a landmark announcement for our organization, as it marks the first step in our commitment to host the globally captivating sport of rugby, along with the millions of fans devoted to it around the world,” said Washington Football Team President Jason Wright. “We could not be happier to host this Test Match at FedExField, as it demonstrates our business vision to attract global sporting events, such as future Rugby World Cup matches, that we know quench the thirst of our diverse and sports-obsessed DMV region. Our organization looks forward to making this a memorable event and supporting a robust week of activity for the global rugby community.”

Internationally renowned for their incomparable success and world-famous pre-game tradition, the haka, the All Blacks have a global following that goes well beyond rugby.

All Blacks Captain Sam Cane said the All Blacks would be looking forward to a “special game” against the USA.

“We’ve really loved it every time we have gone there,” Cane said. “I know the team is excited about getting to America and particularly going to Washington, DC for the first time. It will be a historic match with a lot of meaning behind it and we hope that the rugby fans there really get behind the game. We can’t wait.”

All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster added: “We’re really excited to again be going back to the United States. To go to Washington, D.C. for a first-ever All Blacks Test there will be exciting for the team.

We’ve had a couple of great experiences in the U.S. already, albeit with one bad result against Ireland in 2016.  But our game against the USA in 2014 was highly memorable, with real excitement from the crowd and huge interest in the All Blacks. So hopefully it’s another chance to grow the game of rugby there.”

The USA Eagles are coming off their first assembly since 2019 and look ahead to a busy fall with qualification for the 2023 France Rugby World Cup in focus. The United States are hosting both New Zealand and Ireland this fall as they lead the effort to bring the Rugby World Cup to the United States in 2027 or 2031 for the men and 2029 for the women.

“This is a special match for all of us within the USA Rugby community, taking on one of the world’s best in our nation’s capital. With the Men’s Eagles having last played on the east coast in 2017, we’re thrilled to welcome eager fans to what is always a special experience facing the All Blacks. Paired with our match against Ireland in Las Vegas the following week, this is an exciting stretch for fans in each corner of the country. No doubt both are iconic venues for us to continue momentum toward a host bid for the Rugby World Cup in the United States,” said USA Rugby CEO, Ross Young.

Current USA Head Coach Gary Gold echoed Young’s sentiment.

“It’s exciting to round out our fall test schedule with a fixture against the All Blacks. It’s no secret this team is, and has been, one of the best in the world and the opportunity to go head-to-head at home is special. As the Rugby World Cup will be less than two years out and we look forward to heading into this Rugby World Cup caliber match.”

Ticket pre-sale for the rugby community opens on Wednesday, July 28. General public on sale opens at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 30. For tickets, go to Ticketmaster.com. Full event details are available at washingtonfootball.com/rugby.

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