USA Rugby will be returning to Houston, Texas for the inaugural Americas Rugby Championship on the weekend of February 6. The opening match of the tournament will pit the U.S. National Team, the Eagles, against the 2015 Rugby World Cup 4th place finishers, Argentina at Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium. The Eagles will also play their second match of the tournament in Austin, Texas against northern rivals Canada at Austin’s Dell Diamond Stadium.
Initially agreed to between executive members of the respective unions under the guidance of the Pan American Rugby Association (PARA), the groundbreaking Americas Rugby Championship will provide Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the U.S., and Uruguay with five additional rankings tests annually.
“We are delighted to be able to announce the inaugural Americas Rugby Championship that will take place next year,” Americas Rugby Chairman Agustín Pichot said. “This could not have happened without the hard work and cooperation of all six rugby unions involved.
“We would also like to thank World Rugby for their support. This is a very exciting time for the Americas, with our first truly international tournament, as rugby continues to thrive and prosper in this region.”
The match against Argentina will mark the third time the USA Rugby Men’s National Team will play a match BBVA Compass Stadium since 2012. All three matches are in the top-10 most attended in Eagles history and the upcoming match against Los Pumas of Argentina should continue this success.
The match against Canada will be the first time the USA Rugby Men’s National Team will play a match in Austin, but the area is the current home to one of the Eagles’ Rugby World Cup participants, Chris Baumann. Baumann, originally from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, currently plays with the Austin Blacks Men’s Rugby Club. The Blacks were runners-up in the 2015 Men’s Club Division 1 National Championships and are known as one of the top men’s clubs in the country.
Built in 2012, BBVA Compass Stadium is home to both the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer and the Houston Dash of the National Women’s Soccer League. With a seating capacity of 22,039 the national governing body for rugby in the United States will look to sell out their February test match against the world’s fifth ranked rugby union. The Eagles previously surpassed 20,000 attendees in their 2013 and 2014 matches against Ireland and Scotland.
Austin’s Dell Diamond Stadium is home to the Round Rock Express, the AAA minor league baseball affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Fitting a capacity crowd of 11,631, the venue will look to continue the success of USA Rugby matches in Texas as the Eagles’ third, fourth, sixth and eighth-largest crowds have all come in the Lone Star State.
The national governing body for rugby in the United States has seen unprecedented growth in recent years, having also been named the fastest-growing team sport domestically. That growth is also reflected in Texas as the state has seen over a 17% increase in registered USA Rugby members in the last four years.
Information regarding specific dates, match times, and broadcast coverage for the historic Panamerican tournament will be released in due course.
Americas Rugby Championship | 2016 Competition Calendar
(Home v Away)
Round 1 – Weekend of Feb. 6 – 7, 2016
USA v. Argentina
Canada v. Uruguay
Chile v. Brazil
Round 2 – Weekend of Feb. 13 – 14, 2016
USA v. Canada
Argentina v. Chile
Brazil v. Uruguay
Round 3 – Weekend of Feb. 20 – 21, 2016
USA v. Chile
Canada v. Brazil
Uruguay v. Argentina
Round 4 – Weekend of Feb. 27 – 21, 2016
Brazil v. USA
Argentina v. Canada
Chile v. Uruguay
Round 5 – Weekend of March 5 – 6, 2016
Uruguay v. USA
Chile v. Canada
Brazil v. Argentina