“The players want to play against New Zealand’s All Blacks, which is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any Eagle, but…”
Via usarugby.org BOULDER, Colo. – USA Rugby announced Friday it has come to an agreement with Premiership Rugby for the release of Eagle-eligible players for the historic match against the New Zealand All Blacks, to be played at Soldier Field Nov. 1.
Other U.S.-eligible players in France’s Top 14, Japan’s Top League, Scotland’s Guinness Pro12, and the Greene King IPA Championship will also be made available for selection. Due to the IRB’s November window commencing the second week of November, the match in Chicago falls outside the Global Release Period as subject to the IRB’s Regulation 9. Regulation 9 guarantees the release of players for international duty during certain weeks of the year.
As stated in the Regulation 9:
While it is not scheduled during the end-of-year window, the Eagles’ test against the No. 1-ranked All Blacks represents the “highest level” at which an Eagle can play outside of the IRB Rugby World Cup. Recent tests against Tier One nations Italy, Ireland, and Scotland on U.S. soil have brought out the best in Eagles playing overseas and those who have used the matches to earn professional contracts, including Cameron Dolan and Titi Lamositele, who signed with Northampton Saints and Saracens, respectively.
At PPL Park in Philadelphia, Pa., last year, the Eagles were without Premiership stars Samu Manoa, Blaine Scully, and Chris Wyles for the match against the New Zealand Maori All Blacks, yet nearly emerged with an upset. With a full complement of domestic- and international-based players, the Eagles will have the best chance of challenging the world champion in Chicago.
North America falls under the IRB’s Northern Hemisphere release window, but the U.S. and Canada have limited competition within many of these weekends.
USA Rugby has held talks with Premiership Rugby over the course of the past year to develop a long-term strategy that will allow for the Eagles to host more Tier 1 nations at home and guarantee player release for the summer window, RWC Qualification process, and the Rugby World Cup and its preparation.
“It’s a case of give and take,” USA Rugby Chief Executive Officer Nigel Melville said of the agreement with rugby clubs on player release. “The players want to play against New Zealand, which is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any Eagle, but without the clubs’ support they would not be available.” Read More>