Sunday, September 16, 2012

USA unimpressed with November Tour location

Colwyn Bay Rugby 
The upcoming November international tour of Europe is not turning out to be so good for either Canada or the United States of America. Rather than play a three or four match tour with tests against the likes of Georgia, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland and Spain there are to be matches against Tonga and non-internationals. Last month it was revealed that Canada´s tour would involve a non-international match against a New Zealand team, the Maori All Blacks. Such a match is highly questionable as being useful for Canada at all but it nevertheless will go ahead instead of a potential official test against a Tier One or Tier Two rugby nation. It was also revealed that there would be at least one match between a North American country and Tonga and that it would be played in England. 

The schedule being drawn up has not impressed authorities at USA Rugby. CEO Nigel Meville said he is disappointed. The plans being finalized by the IRB are to see Canada, Russia, Tonga and the USA play a mini tournament in Wales. It will not be in a major Welsh city or even a rugby city. Rather the matches will be played in Northern Wales where rugby is a secondary sport, unlike in the south. The venue selected is Colwyn Bay, a town with a population of only 30,000. As such the marketability is significantly lower than it would have been by playing in a venue such as the Twickenham Stoop in London. The selection is dubious as the USA could be hosting Tonga at Infinity Park in Colorado and  facing Russia in a number of locations in Russia. 

The age-old issue facing the Tier Two nations of playing more test rugby seems to have been forgotten by the IRB. The crucial allocation of matches and venues has not provided either North American nation with what it should have. The reason for the selection of Colwyn Bay is that the Wales Rugby Union spen£6.5 million to build the Parc Eirias rugby and events center, a venue which Wales never plays in. The IRB and WRU want to host matches this November to not only get use out of the venue but to also promote rugby in Northern Wales. It is not for others to promote rugby there and the USA is far from happy. USA Eagles captain, Todd Clever told me on facebook that he agrees with Nigel Melville. 

The exact dates and games are yet to be confirmed.

With Thanks: Rugby Mag

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