The All Blacks will play at Chicago’s famed Soldier Field when they face the United States in a Test in November.
The All Blacks will play the United States in Chicago on November 1 in their first Test on American soil for 34 years.
The world champions will play at Soldier Field, the oldest NFL stadium and home to the Chicago Bears. It will be the first time the venue with a capacity of 61,500 has hosted a rugby Test.
The match falls two weeks after the third Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia in Brisbane and will be the first on New Zealand’s end of year tour, preceding Tests against England, Scotland and Wales.
The All Blacks have played the US three times in their history, registering three comfortable wins.
They won 51-13 in California in 1913, 53-6 in San Diego in 1980 in a game which didn’t have Test status and 46-6 in a pool game at the 1991 World Cup in Gloucester.
All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen says he relishes the opportunity for his team to return to the US, even if it is against opponents ranked 18th in the world.
“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,” he said.
“Tactically, obviously when you have a different opposition – in any sport – you have got to appreciate what they do and what they bring and make sure you have got the tools in the toolbox to combat that.”
USA Rugby chief executive Nigel Melville said the match, which will be televised by US broadcaster NBC, will boost rugby’s profile considerably in the country.
He expects it to draw the biggest crowd to a Test in the US.
“We have no doubt the All Blacks will raise the level of play for the Eagles as they prepare for the World Cup and create a special event for rugby supporters around the world.”
The match mirrors the nature of the All Blacks’ Test against Japan in Tokyo last year, won 54-6, in which Hansen fielded several fringe players.
A New Zealand Rugby statement said the Test was “made possible” by the support of its chief sponsor and US insurance company AIG.