NZ set for US double-header?

Date published: July 30 2015

The All Blacks and Maori All Blacks could feature in matches in Chicago on successive days in 2016.

If planning for the fixtures is successful, the Maori All Blacks would kick off the double-header against the USA at Soldier Field on a Friday with the All Blacks facing Ireland at the same venue on the following day.

This will be a follow-up visit to Chicago for the All Blacks whose clash with the USA – ahead of their 2014 European end-of-year tour – proved to be a spectator and commercial success.

Australia have followed New Zealand's lead and will also face the USA at Soldier Field on September 5 as part of their Rugby World Cup preparations.

NZR chief executive Steve Tew said nothing was definite yet as the All Blacks' itinerary for the first week of November 2016 must still be confirmed.

Tew is hopeful that an announcement will be made before the start of the Rugby World Cup.

"The options are narrowing down and we hope it's not long before we have something for you," he told the New Zealand Herald.

Tew would not talk about possible opposition for the All Blacks' or the idea of a double-header with the Maori All Blacks, but he admitted that New Zealand Rugby are keen to expand the Maori All Blacks' fixture list.

"We are looking at a programme which would involve some international fixtures for the Maori All Blacks rather than the one-off game we had offshore this year," he added.

NZR want the Maori All Blacks to play in New Zealand, as they would in 2017 when they face the touring British and Irish Lions side, but the difficulty was finding the right opponents to face them at home.

Ireland have been mentioned as a potential opposition for the All Blacks in either Boston or Chicago, where there is a large Irish expatriate community.