All Blacks To Play United States On Nov. 1 At Chicago's Soldier Field
The All Blacks have confirmed they will play the U.S. at Chicago's Soldier Field on Nov. 1 in their first Test on American soil in 34 years, according to the AAP. It will be the first time the venue with a capacity of 61,500 "has hosted a rugby Test." The All Blacks have played the U.S. three times in their history, "registering three comfortable wins." All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said that he "relishes the opportunity for his team to return to the US, even if it is against opponents ranked 18th in the world." Hansen: "Having the chance to play in the States itself and particularly in Chicago, a city with so much sporting history, as well, is really exciting" (AAP, 5/14). In London, Martin Pengelly wrote there are questions "about the strength of the team" the U.S. can field since the game falls ouside the International Rugby League's window for manndatory player release, which could elimintate "highly rated" American players Samu Manoa and Blaine Scully, who are playing in England. USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville said, "We want to put out the best team we possibly can, but we realize there are some restrictions." Given the nature of the game, however, USA Rugby and sponsor AIG "hope agreement can be reached" (GUARDIAN, 5/14).