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The National Rugby Football League announced its intent to host the Leicester Tigers in a one-off event called the Independence Cup via a press release Tuesday. The release claims Leicester will come stateside for a preseason match Aug. 1, 2015 with the "Rough Riders", a team of the NRFL's own cultivation, at a stadium to be named later. The release also said its inaugural season will kick off with six teams after the Independence Cup.
The NRFL first announced the Independence Cup would take place in 2013 at Gillette Stadium, the home of the New England Patriots, between an American side and the London Irish. That game never came to fruition. Since then, the NRFL has hosted a player combine, from which a few players have gotten opportunities from overseas clubs. Another combine is scheduled for January in Los Angeles.
"This game will truly be the first of firsts in establishing professional rugby in America. Awareness and opportunity is what we are bringing to the athletes and sports fans as we birth the major league sport of rugby in America," said Michael Clements, Founder of RugbyLaw, LLC in the release.
The release also included a quote attributed to Leicester CEO Simon Cohen:
“The name of Leicester Tigers travels across the world and we’re delighted to have been invited to witness the appetite for the game in the USA first-hand, and the fixture against a team from the National Rugby Football League clubs will provide an excellent platform both for the home-based players and also our squad as they prepare for a new season. Sporting facilities and the pool of talent in so many sports in the USA are the envy of organizations across the world and it should prove a very interesting trip for the club."