US National Team Looks Forward to "Test Series '97"
(Berkeley, CA) 22 April 1997 -- Not too long ago, international rugby games were rarely played in America. But with five of its next eight matches on home soil, the US National Rugby Team's June-July "Test Series '97" promises to serve up international rugby like never before.

Comprising the USA's home contests in the Pacific Rim Rugby Championship and two games as part of Wales' first visit to the United States since 1980, Test Series '97 gets underway on Saturday, June 7, when the the US meets Japan. Next up, Hong Kong on Saturday, June 14. Following a week off, the National Team winds up its home-and-home Pacific Rim campaign against archrival Canada on Saturday, June 28. In keeping with the league's regional theme, all three games will be played in San Francisco, America's Gateway to the Pacific, at Balboa Park's Boxer Stadium.

Just as the Pacific Rim season ends, Wales arrives for a four-game tour of America that includes two more internationals. The first Welsh test will be played in historic Wilmington, North Carolina, on Saturday, July 5, and the second will be in San Francisco on Saturday, July 12.

The five-game homestand ties the record for most international matches played in the US in a single year. But Test Series '97 goes further because for the first time, every game will be televised. Tune in to FOX Sports Net and affiliated regional sports networks on Sundays from 8 to 10 pm (check local listings). Or check out the International Channel's Championship Rugby program, also on Sunday evenings (again, check local listings). And catch instantaneous match reports and more news about the team at its web site: www.usa-eagles.org.

Later this spring, the US National Team will introduce a marketing program to bring the game of rugby closer to mass-market American audiences. Under the theme "The Greatest Game You've Never Seen," the campaign will work to position rugby in the hearts and minds of American viewers by explaining its fundamentals, highlighting its magnificent history, and showcasing the incredible skill, stamina, and toughness of top US players.

An important stage in the buildup to the 1999 World Cup, Test Series '97 will give the National Team the chance to improve on last year's runnerup finish in Pacific Rim competition plus the opportunity to avenge a tough January loss to Wales in Cardiff. It should also prove an exciting time for the game's growing number of fans. "From a team perspective, we're chomping at the bit to take the next step in our development," Head Coach and General Manager Jack Clark noted. "From a business perspective, we are growing leaps and bounds and are committed to pushing rugby into the mainstream of American sports."

Test Series '97 Date Location Opponent
Pacific Rim Rugby
June 7 San Francisco Japan
June 14 San Francisco Hong Kong
June 28 San FranciscoCanada
Wales tour of USAJuly 5 Wilmington, NC Wales
July 12 San Francisco Wales