Stormers and Bulls have a United States connection
SUPER RUGBY NEWS: They may be arch rivals on the field, but the Stormers and Bulls join forces to make history next year.
The Stormers and Bulls will break new ground when they face off in a pre-season encounter in Los Angeles on February 3.
The match will be played as a curtain-raiser for the clash between the United States Eagles and an Argentina XV at Stub Hub Centre, which forms part of the Americas Rugby Championship.
The pre-season match will see Super Rugby make its United States debut, as the two South African teams take their rivalry to a new continent.
"This is a great opportunity to share the success of the Stormers team and brand with a new and growing market," Western Province Rugby CEO Paul Zacks said.
"The world is continuously becoming a smaller place, so exploring new and growing areas of the game forms part of our vision, as we strive to become a truly high-performance organization with global appeal."
President of the Western Province Rugby Football Union, Thelo Wakefield, said that he is looking forward to showcasing the brand and team and winning the hearts of rugby supporters in the USA, whilst helping grow the game.
"The Stormers are one of the best-supported franchises in Rugby Union and we are very excited to be able to showcase our brand, team, athletes and style of play, to the growing number of Faithful in the United States," he said.
Stub Hub Centre in Los Angeles will host the two fixtures as part of USA Rugby's long-term strategy in the region, leading to the Summer Olympics in 2028. Southern California has in fact been the fastest growing High School and Youth region over the last decade for USA Rugby.
"We're anticipating a strong year in 2018, with the ARC opening here in the US," said USA Rugby CEO, Dan Payne.
USA Eagles coach Gary Gold said that anticipation in Los Angeles is building for what should be a special occasion.
"Opening the season against a runner-up should deliver some added excitement in Los Angeles," remarked Gold.
"There is a suitable amount of anticipation we have for the men here, starting off the series with a well-contested match-up.
"Super Rugby is one of the premier club rugby competitions in the world, spanning 15 time zones and five countries." said Super Rugby CEO Andy Marinos".
"Even though this is a pre-season match, we are excited that rugby fans in the United States will get the opportunity to enjoy and witness Super Rugby first hand."
The Bulls said they are "extremely excited" to be part of this fixture and to be able to contribute to the overall double-header.
Bulls Executive of Rugby, John Mitchell, is no stranger to rugby in the USA and has had the privilege of spending time at the helm of the USA Eagles team.
"This trip comes at a vital time for us, as we will be far into our pre-season preparations for the 2018 season, and there’s no doubt that members of our squad will be looking to assert themselves.
"So rugby lovers attending the double-header, can expect to be entertained by these two Super Rugby giants."
Barend van Graan, CEO of the Blue Bulls Company, echoed Mitchell’s sentiments, and added: "This Super Rugby showcase, is bigger than just the game on the day, and should be seen as a step forward in growing rugby even faster in the States, and globally."