Crusaders to play in USA

New Zealand’s Crusaders are to play English Premiership club Saracens in New Orleans on August 1, in a fixture designed to capitalise on growing US interest in rugby union.

The Crusaders, seven-time Super Rugby champions, said they will field their development side for the one-off fixture at the 70,000 capacity SuperDome.

Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach said the match, to be called The Hemispheres Cup, was a rare north-south club clash.

“Saracens and the Crusaders are two teams from opposite ends of the globe, but with similarly proud histories,” he said.

“It is not often that non-international teams from the southern and northern hemispheres have the chance to pit themselves against each other.”

Rugby authorities in the United States are keen to raise the game’s profile, particularly with the sevens format making its Olympic debut at the Rio Games next year.

The All Blacks played a Test against the United States last year at a sold-out Soldier Field in Chicago, and Australia’s Wallabies will face the Eagles at the same venue on September 5.

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