Match details: All Blacks v USA Eagles, Saturday 23 October, 3.30pm EDT, (8.30am, Sunday NZT) FedExField, Washington DC.
Played: 3 (1913, 1991 and 2014)
Last game: All Blacks 74, USA 6 (1 November 2014)
Referee: Angus Gardner
A DEBUT AND THREE FIRST STARTS
20-year-old lock Josh Lord is set to cap off a meteoric rise in 2021 with a debut from the bench at FedExField. Lord’s journey mirrors that of Chiefs teammate Tupou Vaa’i who made his debut as a 20-year-old in 2021 and will partner skipper Sam Whitelock in the second row against USA. There will also be first Test starts for prop Ethan de Groot, halfback Finlay Christie and centre Braydon Ennor. Coach Ian Foster said all four players had worked hard this week and were ready to take their opportunity. “Josh Lord is a young man who’s been really enthusiastic since he came in. He’s bringing a lot of energy and learning a lot and we’re looking forward to seeing him go.”
The All Blacks and the USA Eagles will be playing in the inaugural Test for the 1874 Cup, which celebrates the year rugby was first played in the United States, in a collegiate match between McGill and Harvard Universities. USA Rugby chief executive Ross Young said: "This is a special match for all of us within the USA rugby community, taking on one of the world's best in our nation's capital. With the Men's Eagles having last played on the east coast in 2017, we're thrilled to welcome eager fans to what is always a special experience facing the All Blacks," he said.
ELUSIVE FIRST TRY
The USA Eagles have faced the All Blacks three times in Test rugby but are yet to cross the try line. The Eagles closest result came at the 1991 Rugby World Cup where they went down 46-6. The All Blacks triumphed 51-3 in the very first Test match back in 1913 at California Field, and 74-6 in the last clash between the sides at Soldier Field in 2014. With a bumper crowd expected at FedExField, expect the roof to lift off if the Eagles can score a historic first Test try against the All Blacks.
WORD FROM THE EAGLES
USA Eagles Head Coach Gary Gold said his side were up for the challenge of taking on the All Blacks on home soil. “Matches like these can be a true test of character as they force split-second decisions in intense and hectic environments. This is an exciting opportunity for us to expose our younger players to the best in the world. We are under no illusions for what lies ahead on Saturday. Our preparation has gone well, the spirit in the group is high and we look forward to having a vibrant and vocal home crowd behind us in the nation’s capital.”
A GRAND SPORTING ARENA
The match will be staged at the home of the NFL’s Washington Football Team – FedExField. The stadium has a capacity of 82,000 and is situated just eight kilometeres away from Washington DC. It will be the first time the All Blacks have played at an NFL stadium since playing at Chicago’s famed Soldier Field in both 2014 (vs USA) and 2016 (vs Ireland). Tickets are still available to the game HERE.
The All Blacks leading point scorer against USA is Jon Preston who scored 14 points in the 46-6 victory in 1991. Primarily known as a halfback, Preston played first five-eighth in the 1991 Rugby World Cup pool clash.
TEAMS (caps in brackets, * indicates debut)
1. Ethan de Groot (2) 2. Asafo Aumua (4) 3. Angus Ta’avao (19) 4. Samuel Whitelock (127) - captain
5. Tupou Vaa’i (7) 6. Luke Jacobson (10) 7. Dalton Papalii (9) 8. Hoskins Sotutu (8) 9. Finlay Christie (3) 10. Richie Mo’unga (27) 11. George Bridge (16) 12. Quinn Tupaea (4) 13. Braydon Ennor (2) 14. Will Jordan (9) 15. Damian McKenzie (37)
Reserves: 16. Dane Coles (76) 17. George Bower (8) 18. Tyrel Lomax (10) 19. Josh Lord* 20. Sam Cane (74) 21. TJ Perenara (75) 22. Beauden Barrett (98) 23. Anton Lienert-Brown (53)
1: Matt Harmon (4) 2: Dylan Fawsitt (19) 3: Paul Mullen (24) 4: Nate Brakeley (29) 5: Nick Civetta (32) 6: Benjamin Bonasso (1) 7: Hanco Germishuys (26) 8: Cam Dolan (57) 9: Nate Augspurger (30) 10: Luke Carty (5) 11: Ryan Matyas (13) 12: Bryce Campbell (38) – captain 13: Tavite Lopeti (4) 14: Ryan James*, 15: Will Hooley (17)
Reserves: 16: Chad Gough*, 17: Faka’osi Pifeleti *, 18: Dino Waldren (21), 19: Siaosi Mahoni (4), 20: Moni Tonga’uiha (1), 21: Andrew Guerra (5), 22: Michael Baska (2), 23: Mike Dabulas (1)