Ireland to play the All Blacks in Chicago
Ireland will face New Zealand in Chicago during their winter internationals in November 2016
They will meet at the 60,000-capacity Soldier Field
The Irish have never beaten New Zealand in 28 attempts
The Ireland rugby team is set to break new ground by playing New Zealand in Chicago next November, with a return fixture against the back-to-back World Cup Champions to be held at the Aviva Stadium later in the same month.
The Irish will meet the All Blacks at the 60,000-capacity Soldier Field on Saturday, November 5th, before hosting a Tier 2 country a week later at the Aviva Stadium in Dubin. They will then play New Zealand again on November 19th before rounding off their Autumn schedule against World Cup finalists Australia on the 26th.
Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears American football team, is no stranger to international rugby union, hosting its first union test in November last year as New Zealand demolished the United States 74-6. The match was a 61,500 sell out and, although a significantly smaller crowd of 23,112 attended Australia’s 47-10 win over the Eagles in a World Cup warm-up match in September this year, another capacity turn out is predicted given the popularity of both Ireland and the All Blacks in America.
The keen-traveling Irish fans, combined with America’s fascination with Irish culture is expected to pull in a healthy crowd as Ireland’s first meeting with the All Blacks ‘across the pond’ takes place.
These high-profile tests will round off a rigorous 2016 for Joe Schmidt’s men and, on top of the Six Nations, a three-test tour of South Africa next June will take place in in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.
Six clashes with teams from the Rugby Championship in one calendar year is unprecedented for a European nation and will replicate the set of six fixtures Argentina, who felled Ireland in the quarter-final of the 2015 World Cup, will face in 2016.
Ireland has never beaten New Zealand in 28 attempts, dating back to 1905, and came agonisingly close in the countries’ most recent clash at the Aviva Stadium in November 2013 when the All Blacks won 24-22 thanks to a try in over time by Ryan Crotty and a twice-taken conversion by Aaron Cruden. They are now set to have two goes at the World champions next year.