Rugby in North America: Churchill Cup Returns To US Soil
For the second consecutive year, the Churchill Cup play will take place solely on American soil. The Churchill Cup is an alliance between the English Rugby Football Union (RFU), Rugby Canada, and USA Rugby. The tournament was launched in 2003 aiming to develop and grow the sport of rugby union in North America.
Glendale, Colorado’s Infinity Park will once again serve as the hosts for the pool play round of the tournament and the newly constructed Red Bull Arena in New Jersey will host the Finals.
The new venue aside, the Churchill Cup will take on additional changes as four of the six teams involved are now full international sides. This is an exciting development for the tournament as it gives teams such as the United States and Canada more opportunities for full international tests.
Gone from last year’s lineup are Ireland A and the Argentina Jaguars. Returning sides are the United States, Canada, and the England Saxons. Newcomers to the tournament include France A, Russia, and Uruguay.
“The Churchill Cup is a vital part of our international season and offers top flight international competition, as well as providing increased exposure of the sport to new audiences in the United States,” said Nigel Melville, Chief Executive Officer of USA Rugby.
“We are excited to be returning to Infinity Park and to be staging the finals day at a new venue, the Red Bull Arena, a world-class stadium that provides both players and fans with an unparalleled experience.”
Pool play takes place June 5 through June 13 at Infinity Park. Opened in September 2007 with a 4,000-seat game-day capacity, Infinity Park is one of the only rugby-specific stadiums in the United States.
“In June 2009, rugby enthusiasts from around the world came to Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado to experience world-class rugby at the seventh Annual Churchill Cup. It is so exciting to see this great sport growing in communities throughout this country. We are honored to host the Churchill Cup again in 2010 at Infinity Park, the first rugby-specific stadium in the U.S,” said Mike Dunafon, Mayor Pro Tem, Glendale, Colorado.
Set to open on March 20, Red Bull Arena plays host to the Finals of the Churchill Cup on June 19. The state-of-the-art soccer-specific facility, currently under construction in Harrison, New Jersey, is the new home of the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer (MLS).
The overall seating capacity at Red Bull Arena is 25,189, including 30 luxury suites (20 on the lower level and 10 on the upper level) and 1,116 club seats. Other amenities include three stadium clubs and two retail outlets. The suite and club seating areas are located on the west side of the field and each location has access to their own private club areas.
"We are honored to host the Finals of the Churchill Cup at Red Bull Arena," said Red Bull New York Managing Director Erik Stover. "It continues our commitment to bringing top international events to the Metropolitan New York area. This event fits well into the schedule of Red Bull Arena as the Red Bulls are on their World Cup break.”
With so little in the way of full international tests for both the United States and Canada, the new lineup of teams is a positive step forward for the tournament. The lack of parity in the past created little interest from fans as both the Eagles and Maple Leafs struggled.
Saturday June 5 - Infinity Park - Glendale, Colorado
Canada v Uruguay
USA v Russia
Wednesday June 9 - Infinity Park - Glendale, Colorado
England Saxons v Russia
France A v Uruguay
Sunday June 13 - Infinity Park - Glendale, Colorado
USA v England Saxons
Canada vs France A
Saturday June 19
Finals Day - Red Bull Arena - Harrison, New Jersey
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