Tuesday 12 December 2017

Trump connection a curious one for IRFU

CHICAGO - MARCH 14: Trump International Hotel and Tower on MARCH 14, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)
CHICAGO - MARCH 14: Trump International Hotel and Tower on MARCH 14, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

The US presidential election takes place two days after Ireland take their leave of Chicago, but their choice of hotel in the Illinois city has put them front and centre of the show.

The giant ‘TRUMP’ sign that beams from their hotel leaves nobody in any doubt as to who owns the joint and, while the choice to stay there was made long before the Republican nominee went from dislikable to repugnant, it looks like an own-goal from the union.

They will argue that their requirements narrow down the options and a major trade show in the city also took out alternatives.

The All Blacks got first dibs and chose the nearby Hyatt, leaving Ireland in bed with Donald.

Yesterday, the Trump Hotel were tweeting that the union had donated 10 tickets to Saturday’s game to their chosen charity, further linking the brands.

Second-row Ultan Dillane was asked about his new surrounds yesterday, and said: “We are not trying to help him out or anything. It is close to our stadium and our training grounds.”

Ireland set for return visit to face Eagles next June

It looks increasingly likely that Ireland’s trip to Chicago will not be their only visit to the United States this season as the IRFU line up a Test match against the Eagles as part of their June itinerary.

The summer tour details have not yet been announced, but Japan is the final destination for Joe Schmidt’s side who are expected to take on the Brave Blossoms twice.

A stop-off on the American east coast, most likely New York, looks likely to be on the cards as the New Zealander looks to deepen his squad during the Lions tour. Ireland last played here in 2013, beating their hosts 15-10 in Houston, Texas.

Quote of the day

“I think there’s been a bit said about it already and Ulster have come out and made a statement this morning. We’ll reference you to that and we’ll get on with our own business. We’ve got a big week ahead of us here in Chicago. Little preparation, our focus has to be on the game and we’ll make no further comment.”

– Andy Farrell was in stone-walling mode at Ireland’s press conference yesterday

Number of the day

60 New Zealand have been in ominously prolific form in 2016, scoring 60 tries in their 10 games this year to date

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