Crusaders, Sarries to face off in USA

Date published: May 20 2015

A Crusaders team will play a one-off, historic match against Saracens in New Orleans on August 1.

The game at the famous 75,000 capacity Superdome stadium will host the inaugural Hemispheres Cup match, organised by RugbyLaw from the USA.

Crusaders CEO Hamish Riach said the Crusaders are thrilled to be sending a team to New Orleans to face a team of Saracens' calibre.
“This is an exciting opportunity for us, firstly to play in an amazing international venue like the Superdome in New Orleans, and secondly to play a team like Saracens who we would never usually get the opportunity to play," said Riach.

"Saracens and the Crusaders are two teams from opposite ends of the globe, but with similarly proud histories.

"It is not often that non-international teams from the southern and northern hemispheres have the chance to pit themselves against each other, and we are honoured to be involved in this inaugural Hemispheres clash.

"I have no doubt that this will be an incredible spectacle and a historic occasion."

The timing of the match, in between the Super Rugby and ITM Cup seasons, means that a Crusaders Knights team made up of those players assembled in Christchurch at that time will travel to New Orleans.

“This will be an amazing opportunity for some of our local players to be involved in such a unique event," added Riach.

"There is a real appetite for rugby in the US at the moment, so I am sure that the game will be well supported.

"We are proud to be a part of this showcase event, especially playing a club as historically significant as Saracens.”

Saracens' director of rugby Mark McCall agreed that it would be a privilege to play in such a fantastic city and to give the people of New Orleans a chance to experience professional rugby.

“The city of New Orleans is famed for its welcome, vibrancy, history and culture and we are looking forward to being part of what will be a very special occasion," he said.

"The Superdome is recognised all over the world and our players are already excited about playing at the home of the New Orleans Saints and in front of a City that loves its sport.

"The Crusaders are one of the most successful sides in world rugby and as we very rarely get the chance to face teams from the Southern Hemisphere.

"We can’t wait to test ourselves in what will be a very hard-fought contest.”