Brits: More than just a match in the USA

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 09:14
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NEWS: Hooker Schalk Brits believes there is much more to the Premiership Rugby contest between Saracens and Newcastle Falcons in Philadelphia than just the match itself.

The two-time reigning European champions will be the ‘away’ team when they meet the Falcons on September 16 at the 18 500 capacity Talen Energy Stadium.

The ground is usually the home of MLS side Philadelphia Union but, for one week only, will play host to Premiership Rugby – only the second regular season game ever to be played abroad.

And Brits insists that playing fixtures outside the UK is an important way to grow the game of rugby in new markets and for new fans.

"It’s very exciting, it’s growing the game we love and we think there’s great potential for the game to grow and develop," he said.

"All the teams enjoyed New York and I think they will enjoy Philadelphia even more.

"It’s not just the game, the whole week will be fantastic. You’ll get to meet new people, train on different grounds and grow the game in the community. It’s more than one match.

"As players, we want to play in different places but also we have a responsibility to grow the game of rugby and grow the Premiership Rugby,"

The match in Pennsylvania is part of a new four-year agreement with AEG – the world’s leading sports and live entertainment company – in conjunction with NBC Sports.

It means that rather than doing the five-hour coach drive from Allianz Park to Kingston Park, Brits and his Saracens teammates will be boarding a flight across the pond to America’s east coast.

But the former South African international does not see the flight as a hindrance and has positive past experiences of the sporting city of Philadelphia.

"I don’t see it as flying that far, it’s a few hours across but in Super Rugby you would do that quite often in a season, in England everything is quite close," he added.

"We are used to travelling and playing in different places and we are looking forward to this opportunity.

"I love being away to play rugby and Philadelphia, I have only been there for ten days for a knee rehab, but it was an amazing place. I had the Philly Steak sandwich which was great.

"What better place to take it to than Philadelphia, two great sides are going to enjoy playing rugby there and it will be a great showcase,"

The match is sanctioned by the United States Rugby Union and USA Rugby’s Chief Executive Dan Payne is looking forward to seeing Premiership Rugby in Philadelphia.

"This match-up is yet another opportunity for our American rugby fans and future fans to witness, first hand, up close and personal, the product created by some of the world's top professional teams," said Payne recently.

"We're thankful to the Premiership Rugby, Saracens, Newcastle Falcons and our partners for providing this opportunity to the American public.

"I'm looking forward to a tremendous display of our great game that will fuel our growth plan domestically...a plan for growth in participation, overall awareness, national broadcast & commercially.  This event ticks each of those very important boxes!"

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 24 November 2017
Cheetahs v Edinburgh 17h30 Bloemfontein
Ulster v Treviso 19h05 Kingspan Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Connacht 19h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Leinster v Dragons 19h35 RDS Stadium
Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester 19h45 Kingston Park
Sat, 25 November 2017
Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors 12h45 Welford Road
Bath v Harlequins 12h45 Recreation Ground
Italy v South Africa 13h00 Rome
Scotland v Australia 14h30 Edinburgh
England v Samoa 15h00 Twickenham
Wales v New Zealand 17h15 Cardiff
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 17h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Ireland v Argentina 17h30 Aviva Stadium
France v Japan 19h00 Paris
Sun, 26 November 2017
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Liberty Stadium
Kings v Scarlets 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Zebre v Munster 13h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs 15h00 Allianz Park
London Irish v Wasps 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Team P W D L Pts
Exeter Chiefs 8 6 0 2 31
Saracens 8 6 0 2 29
Leicester Tigers 8 6 0 2 26
Bath 8 5 0 3 24
Gloucester 8 5 0 3 22
Wasps 8 4 0 4 20
Harlequins 8 4 0 3 20
Northampton Saints 8 4 0 4 20
Newcastle Falcons 8 4 0 4 20
Sale Sharks 8 2 0 6 15
Worcester Warriors 8 1 0 7 8
London Irish 8 1 0 7 7