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1874 Cup Weekend More Than Just a Game

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1874 Cup Weekend More Than Just a Game

Sam Cane, wearing #7 in black, in the handshake line after the All Blacks defeated the USA at Soldier Field in 2014. David Barpal photo.

The 1874 Cup is just over a week away and there are still some tickets left for fans to go see Army vs Navy and the USA vs the All Blacks, but it's more than just about the game.

This could be, so said DC Old Glory owner Chris Dunleavy, to be the most-attended rugby event in North America. But even that's just part of the story. It's also about exposing American sports fans to this grear game.

“It looks to me the way the tickets are selling, the largest rugby event in North America at least since that Ireland New Zealand match [in 2016],” said Dunleavy, who club is putting plenty of effort behind supporting the test match. 

“Rugby is terrifically exciting to watch,” Dunleavy added in making his pitch to non-rugby fans. “The sport comes with a set of values, values of mutual respect, of inclusion, of honor, of total commitment, that we don’t think see in that combination in any other sport. Part of our focus at Major League Rugby is to grow the sport at every level … so we can support our national teams.”

Old Glory DC Hositng Week of Events Leading Up to USA vs NZ test Match

Dunleavy said that while there is a strong international community in the DC area, much of the Old Glory fan base is US-born-and-bred. That will likely be a large chunk of the fan base at the 1874 Cup event.

“The core of our fan base is the [local] rugby community,” said Dunleavy. “But more and more we’re finding ways to tap into the general sports fan out there. I know that once you go to a rugby game and see it you can get hooked pretty easy. I would expect that this will be more fo a domestic crowd than some of the tests but really only because of the health policy-related travel restrictions. It’s going to have The eyes of North American Rugby on it.”

Get Tickets to USA vs New Zealand (with Army vs Navy as a bonus)all at FedEx Field in DC October 23 here>>

Still, there will be fans of the All Blacks there, for sure. The Kiwi presence in the USA is strong, and this is likely the first time in a couple of years that any of them have a chance to see the All Blacks in person.

“We’re looking forward to getting out to Washington,” said All Blacks Captain Sam Cane, who started at openside flanker against the Eagles in 2014 in Chicago, and is coming back from injury to lead New Zealand on this fall tour. “One of the great things about rugby is that it’s an international sport. So the fact that we get to travel the world and experience different countries, different cultures, and then play a team like the States, is great. Our awareness of what’s going on in the States has increased since the MLR has kicked off over there.”

Word gets back from New Zealanders playing in the MLR about how the game is progressing, said Cane, and being that the rugby world and New Zealand are both relatively small, they all find out pretty quickly.

“You get to hear how great it’s going and for us to come over [we can] help grow the game and we’ll try and get out there and be the best ambassadors for the sport that we can,” said Cane.