18 Oct 2014

US at full stength to play All Blacks

9:34 am on 18 October 2014

American rugby players based in the English Premiership will be released for the US Eagles' game against the world champion All Blacks on November the 1st in Chicago.

Conrad Smith of the All Blacks.

Conrad Smith of the All Blacks. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The match, which will be played at the NFL's Chicago Bears' 61,500-capacity Soldier Field home, falls outside the International Rugby Board's autumn Test window.

Premiership clubs would not have been obliged to release non-English players, but Premiership Rugby confirmed an agreement had been reached with USA Rugby.

Northampton forward Samu Manoa, Saracens' Chris Wyles and Leicester back Blaine Scully are among those likely to be part of the Eagles' plans against the All Blacks.

And the news has been welcomed by USA Rugby chief executive Nigel Melville, the former Wasps and Gloucester rugby director.

"This is a significant milestone in the development of the game in the USA," Melville said.

"We will be playing the world champions, New Zealand, in an iconic football stadium, in front of a record 60,000 capacity crowd with a live broadcast via NBC with a reach of over 115 million homes in the USA."

"The other three matches in November provide opportunities for some of our younger players to play for the Eagles and to stake their claim for a place in the 2015 Rugby World Cup."

Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty added: "As we help grow the sport in the USA, it is essential to support a match of this quality which has clearly captured the interest of the American supporters."

It will be the All Blacks first competitive appearance in the USA since 1980.