History was made on the 12th of March at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey as London Irish took on Saracens in the Round 16 fixture of the Aviva Premiership. The Aviva Premiership is an English based top level professional rugby competition featuring the best of Englands rugby talent. Play Rugby USA was fortunate enough to be invited to be involved in the historic match through a partnership with ‘Try Rugby USA’ , the British Council and Premiership Rugby.
Nearly a hundred Play Rugby regulars were given exclusive insight into what it’s like playing in a professional stadium, with Manhattan RFCs 4th and 5th graders given the opportunity to scrimmage prior to the game and at half time in front of a crowd of 14,000 people.
Further to this, the NY Academy were called upon to provide their services as ball boys and flag bearers for the ‘home’ team, London Irish.
The fixture highlighted a promising future for rugby in the area with the concept set to continue for another couple of years. The strong crowd provided a good reason for a future team in the upcoming PRO Rugby tournament.
The kids involvement had a huge impact on them with many presents praising their inclusion.
“Just a quick note to thank you for today, you and the other coaches made Heaths day, he is still talking about it and will for a long time. I know it’s a lot of work so thanks a lot! (Grant Jeffrey, Father of Heath Jeffrey)”
“Theo (and us) are still buzzing about Saturday’s games – thanks so much for organizing! (Dara Freed, Mother of Theo Freed)”
Play Rugby USA would like to give a huge thank you to The Legacy Agency for donating tickets to supporters and fans of us. Everyone who attended had a great time witnessing live professional rugby for the first time in New York.