NatWest 6 Nations champions Ireland are to return to Chicago in the autumn as they take on Italy as part of The Rugby Weekend.
Returning to the site of one of the greatest moments in their history – the 40-29 victory over New Zealand at Soldier Field in 2016 – Ireland will take on Conor O’Shea’s Italy on November 3.
That famous occasion was Ireland’s first win over the All Blacks in 111 years and saw Joe Schmidt’s men roared on by a crowd of over 62,000 spectators.
Ireland are looking forward to playing once again in front of a sea of a green after witnessing the number of passionate Irish fans that came out to support their country at Soldier Field two years ago.
“Irish Rugby is delighted to be returning to Chicago,” said IRFU director of commercial and marketing, Padraig Power.
“In 2016 the Ireland team experienced tremendous support and made history in a week that also witnessed the Cubs celebrating their own piece of history on the streets of Chicago.
“We are looking forward to an exciting match against Italy who are a well-coached and dangerous team.”
The Azzurri have gone from strength to strength in recent years, rapidly becoming one of the most dangerous teams in Europe, and are set to provide tough opposition for Ireland.
“To keep on developing the FIR brand and Italian rugby in general across the world is one of our main commitments, as well as establishing our National Team among the most competitive on the international stage,” said FIR Commercial Director, Carlo Checchinato.
“We’re working incredibly hard to convert great performances into victories and to do so we are working more and more closely with our two PRO14 franchises, the RWC 2019 being the main medium-term goal in front of us.
“In order to improve, there is no better way than playing the best in the world and adding Ireland to our 2018 autumn schedule is consistent with both giving the team more chances to compete at the highest possible level as well as developing Italian rugby and the game in general across a great market like the USA.”
The match between the NatWest 6 Nations opponents will be part of a blockbuster tripleheader that will see USA Eagles take on the Maori All Blacks and the USA Women’s Eagles take on New Zealand’s Black Ferns.
The latest edition of The Rugby Weekend was announced by USA Rugby and TLA Worldwide, along with host city partners Chicago Sports Commission (CSC) and Soldier Field, with the iconic NFL stadium playing host to three captivating international rugby matches over the course of one day.