International Rugby coming to San Diego with the All Blacks taking on the Flying Fijians

Wed, Jan 31, 2024, 8:21 PM
by Calder Cahill.

Two of the biggest draws in World Rugby, New Zealand and Fiji, will face off for the first time on American soil at San Diego’s Snapdragon Stadium, on Friday, July 19 at 7:30 PM.

The Steinlager Ultra Low Carb Series match will see the All Blacks return to the United States as the third Test match in 2024, promising to be a tough and entertaining contest between two teams known for their electric running rugby.

The match between the two Pacific nations will pair with an upcoming series of Men’s and Women’s USA Eagles home events, drawing rugby fans from all over the country for a sensational summer of rugby. With Rugby World Cup 2031 and 2033 in focus, major rugby events on US soil are an exciting element to the progression of the game here in the United States.

USA Rugby CEO, Ross Young said on the international event, "We have had a lack of international fixtures over the last 18 months, but this match will be a great addition to a huge year for rugby in the United States as we host New Zealand and Fiji alongside upcoming events for our USA Men’s and Women’s National Teams. This game will give us a real taste of things to come and will be a key part in kick starting growth and excitement at all levels ahead of hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2031 and 2033.”

Both the All Blacks and Fiji Water Flying Fijians currently sit among the top ten ranked men’s teams in the world and had positive results at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, with the All Blacks narrowly missing out on a fourth men’s Rugby World Cup title, and Fiji beating Australia for the first time in 69 years to make the quarterfinals, equaling their best ever finish. It will be first time the two teams have played on neutral soil, with the All Blacks last playing in Washington DC in 2021.

New Zealand rugby legend Ma’a Nonu, who has played 103 Tests for the All Blacks and recently signed on for another season with the San Diego Legion of Major League Rugby, and Fijian legend Waisale Serevi, a member of the World Rugby Hall of Fame, are in San Diego to announce the match alongside key members of the San Diego Legion.

Presale to USA Rugby Members opens 12:00PM PST Wednesday, January 31 and general public tickets go on sale 9:00AM PST Friday, February 2.

New Zealand Rugby CEO, Mark Robinson said: “We’re really excited to be taking the All Blacks to San Diego to play Fiji. It’s been a long-held ambition for New Zealand Rugby and part of our wider strategy to increase the visibility and understanding of rugby in North America and to build our brand presence ahead of the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cups in 2031 and 2033 respectively. The All Blacks and Fiji share a deep connection to the game of rugby and to the Pacific region and we’d like to thank USA Rugby and our event partner TEG Rugby Live for embracing the opportunity to bring this Test to America.

“We want to deliver an event that will capture the imagination of sports fans across the United States and showcases the best qualities of our game. It promises to be unique and entertaining afternoon of rugby and Pacific culture, and a great advertisement for the game.”

Fiji Rugby Special Administrator, Simione Valenitabua said: “The Trustees of the Fiji Rugby Football Union Trust Board (FRFUTB) view this upcoming test as a significant opportunity for the development of rugby. Playing against a top-tier nation not only enhances the skill and experience of our players but also opens more avenues for Fiji to engage in matches against esteemed teams like the All Blacks. This move aligns with our commitment to advancing the sport's growth and providing thrilling rugby experiences for our global fan base.”

“This test against the All Blacks by our FIJI Water Flying Fijians, will draw Fijians domestically in the USA and internationally from all over the world, including our people back home in Fiji. All Fijians will relish this opportunity to watch our FIJI Water Flying Fijians and overseas players, as well as the new coaching team to be announced soon, set a benchmark for the next Rugby World Cup cycle up to the 2027 Rugby World Cup in Australia.”

TEG Group, CEO, Geoff Jones said: “TEG is honored to be working with the All Blacks and Flying Fijians once again in what will be an amazing event. Rugby union is only growing in the United States of America and we’re thrilled to be able to bring two of the most exciting brands in International Rugby to San Diego and to the world class stadium that is Snapdragon Stadium.”

Sports San Diego CEO, Mark Neville said: “We are fired up to be bringing two of the best rugby teams in the world to San Diego for another iconic event. It will surely be a highlight of our summer and will act as a springboard to continue the growth of rugby in San Diego and the United States.”


Rick Schloss

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