(Berkeley, California) 26 February 1999 -- The USA National Team will again bring test rugby to new sites in 1999, with Hawaii hosting its first-ever international.
Honolulu's Kapiolani Park has been named as the venue for the USA-Japan match on June 12, with an eye to maximizing TV exposure for the expanded Pacific Rim.
1999's other home tests are scheduled for San Francisco's Balboa Park, where the US will tackle Tonga on May 15 and Fiji on May 22.
All three of the 1999 Pacific Rim Championship games have been sited with a view to drawing big crowds and maximizing exposure for American rugby, according to National Team Events Manager Scott Compton. Having added Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga for 1999, the Pacific Rim Conference has also committed to televising all of the league's games for the first time.
The venue selections continue the Eagles' commitment to taking international rugby around the country. In the last three years, the National Team has played in Atlanta, Georgia, Wilmington, North Carolina, and Burlington, Vermont, in addition to its Pacific Rim base of San Francisco.
Organizers expect a large turnout for the Honolulu game, with help from local event promoter Cormac O'Carroll of Hawaii Sports. Events such as the Touch Rugby World Championships have previously drawn several thousand spectators to Kapiolani Park, and as an added bonus, the June 12 match coincides with a Japanese-American cultural festival.
"Honolulu is a location and time zone that works well for Japanese television," Compton said. "We hope that the game will go live to Japan, which would be great promotion for the US team and the Pacific Rim competition."
The San Francisco matches against Tonga and Fiji are also expected to draw big crowds. The Bay Area boasts a concentration of rugby players and several Tongan and Fijian communities are in the area.
"Crowds at Balboa have grown steadily in the last couple of years," Compton noted. "Rugby fans know that these are quality opponents and that they can expect great entertainment. These games will also launch the National Team's Rugby World Cup campaign which has many rugby followers excited."
Also during the 1999 Pacific Rim, the US meets Canada on June 19 in Toronto and Samoa on June 26 in Apia. The Eagles' World Cup schedule begins on October 2 against Ireland in Dublin.
To keep international rugby accessible to all sports fans, ticket prices for the USA's 1999 home internationals have been held in check for the third year in a row. General admission tickets are $12.00 for the San Francisco matches. Game-day tickets are $15.00 at the gate.
A two-match pass will be $20.00. Children under the age of 12 are free.
VIP hospitality too remains the same. Test-match VIP packages include a postgame reception with the players, catered lunch and beverage service, exclusive VIP hospitality area access, parking privileges, and a complimentary match-day program for per-person prices beginning at $75.00.
For fans in Hawaii, match-day VIP packages are available, while general admission to the US-Japan game is free of charge.
Tickets and VIP packages can be purchased by calling (toll-free) 1-877-RUGBY99, or at the Eagles' web site: www.usa-eagles.org.
© USA National Rugby Team
USA National Rugby Team
2802 10th Street
Berkeley, CA 94710