July Tour to Fiji for USA
(Berkeley, California) 25 March 1998 -- The US National Rugby Team will tour Fiji in July, playing two games including one test match, General Manager and Head Coach Jack Clark announced today.
The first-ever international between the nations will take place in Suva, the capital, on July 25. The test will be preceded by a game in Nandi on July 21 against the domestic-based players of the Fijian national team. That side has been dubbed the Fiji Warriors.
The short but demanding trip will round out the Eagles' preparation for the Americas' Rugby World Cup (RWC) qualifying tournament in Argentina in August.
"The tour is strategically placed," Clark explained. "We need a two-week break after the Pacific Rim championship ends in mid-June and a two-week break before we go to Argentina.
"In Fiji, we will face World Cup-level competition in a location where it is difficult to train and win, similar to our task in Buenos Aires."
To qualify for the World Cup through match play, something no US team has ever done, the Eagles must earn a place out of a four-way round-robin tournament that also includes Argentina, Canada, and a team to be determined.
The July tour games will also strengthen Fiji's RWC preparation. The Fijians play Tonga, Western Samoa, and Australia in September.