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London Irish operations director Bob Casey is in New York this week laying the groundwork for the Aviva Premiership club’s groundbreaking match with Saracens March 12, 2016 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. The game marks the first Premiership regular-season match to be played off English soil, but it won’t likely be the last.
Casey said London Irish, the Premiership and The Legacy Agency, the group which put on the sold-out All Blacks match at Chicago’s Soldier Field in 2014, have entered a three-year agreement to bring a game Stateside, providing 2016 is a success.
“It’s a combination of Premiership Rugby and London Irish have been talking about this for quite a while, and we just think now is the right time and London Irish is the right brand. We’re looking to do this long-term,” Casey told Rugby Today. “We want to help grow the American game as well as grow the London Irish’s brand.”
Casey is in the Big Apple meeting with The Legacy Agency, Red Bull Arena and various local Irish organizations and rugby clubs, and he’s been impressed with what he’s seen so far.
“It’s one of the biggest sports cities in the world, and Red Bull Arena is a fantastic stadium. I wish I could play in this game,” said the former Ireland and London Irish second row. “It’s going to be a great spectacle, because there’s a lot at stake in this game. It’s a Premiership match. It’s not a preseason friendly. It’s a big, big game.”
Tickets for the pre-St. Patrick’s Day clash are now on sale.