The hosts the US Eagles are ranked 18th in the IRB (International Rugby Board)rankings vs New Zealand’s All Blacks ranked number one in world rugby. Is this a mismatch that has no value to either team or is this something more significant? If we look at what will most likely take place on the pitch then yes this is a mismatch. Would you put a bet on the Eagles winning? Last time the Eagles played a team from New Zealand was November 2013 when they lost to the New Zealand Maori 19-29, the crowd at PPL Park was 18500.
The Eagles last game against their North American rivals Canada had a crowd of 7804. So by comparing these two games you could deduce that the American rugby public will make more of an effort to go see a big team. Hey! You don’t get any better than the All Blacks.
Whenever you play a team that are better than you, you lift your game, you try harder. This heightened sense is a lot of the reason why when you playing against teams better than you , you learn quickly.
As a team you face the best in the business, you see how they operate and you take mental notes. Your coaches can analyse the game and work out ways of incorporating the lessons you learn. Positive indeed. The standard of rugby for the US Eagles will improve as a consequence of such a match.
What do New Zealand get out of a game like this one at Soldier Field? This would give the team time to bond , players to claim a stake in the Test team, for the coaches to try out combinations or new ideas.
As in the old tours you built up to a test , part of the build up could be playing 3rd tier or lower nations. This would help grow the game globally as the smaller sides could pit themselves against the best in the world more regularly.
I commend New Zealand for going to places like Soldier Field and next year they are due to play in Apia, Samoa. They are taking it to the world , surely looking after the game is looking after yourself. No more Elitism from the top tier nations.
Are you a betting man? What if the US Eagles do the unthinkable and win ??