Sunday 23 October 2016

US date for Ireland and New Zealand

Published 14/11/2015 | 02:30

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen

The IRFU are set to confirm that Ireland will meet world champions New Zealand twice in three weeks next November.

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The schedule for the autumn series of internationals is set to include a historic date with the All Blacks at Chicago's Soldier Field on November 5, with Steve Hansen's men due to visit Dublin two weeks later before Australia round off the schedule of four matches.

Ireland will also take on an as yet un-named tier two nation in between their meetings with the team who captured the Webb Ellis Cup last month.

The Windy City has hosted two rugby internationals in recent years, with New Zealand and Australia taking on the United States at the home of the Chicago Bears in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

The American date has been flagged for a number of months as the world champions look to exploit their huge commercial appeal in the untapped market, while also bridging their marathon journey to Europe for their annual tour.

It also fits into head coach Joe Schmidt's desire to face top-level opposition as frequently as possible as he looks to bridge the gap between his side and the world's best.

Irish Independent

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