A regular season Super Rugby match is to be played in Los Angeles. At least that’s what a mysterious tweet from USA Rugby on Sunday evening suggests.
— USA Rugby (@USARugby) November 13, 2017
‘International Rugby Saturday’ looks set to feature an historic double-header, an Americas Rugby Championship test and a Super Rugby fixture, at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles. The date and teams involved will be confirmed on Tuesday but the speculation has already begun.
The 2018 ARC is set to take place on five consecutive weekends between February 10 and March 10. Three of those dates coincide with the 2018 Super Rugby schedule, which technically begins on February 17 when the South African conference gets underway but doesn’t switch into full gear until the following weekend. Saturday matches with unconfirmed venues on those dates are as follows:
Sat, Feb 24 – Crusaders vs Chiefs
Sat, Mar 3 – Crusaders vs Stormers
Sat, Mar 10 – Hurricanes vs Crusaders
Chile have confirmed their away match against the USA will be in the last round, which makes the last date unlikely. The Eagles are also due to host the Argentina XV and Canada. Argentina will face Chile on March 3. While it’s possible that a match against Argentina on February 24 could be targeted, the most likely scenario seems to be a full-on test match between Canada and the USA on March 3 coupled with the 2017 Super Rugby champions Crusaders against the Stormers.
Super Rugby is keen to tap into the North American market and staging a regular season match between two heavyweights with strong brand recognition is a logical strategy. Involving teams from two nations is preferable to only one, and there is another connection nearby as some of the Stormers ownership are rumored to be involved with the San Diego franchise in Major League Rugby. Pairing the match with a classic rivalry between two North American nations also seems a wise choice and one that could well ensure a sold-out crowd at the 27,000 capacity stadium.
Tuesday could be a memorable day indeed for American rugby fans.