USA will begin their quest for a third successive Americas Rugby Championship title on the road in South America after the schedule for the 2019 competition was announced on Monday.
(World Rugby Release)
The six-team round-robin competition features Argentina XV and the national teams of Brazil, Chile, Canada, Uruguay and USA and for the first time in 2019 will feature a bye week with the matches played over six weekends from 2 February to 9 March.
In a year in which three – possibly four – of the participating nations will have one eye on Rugby World Cup 2019, every match will be key as teams and players build towards the showpiece event in Japan.
The USA Eagles are unbeaten in the competition since March 2016 and will enter as the team to beat once again.
They will begin their campaign against Chile in Santiago on 2 February, the same day Uruguay meet Canada in Montevideo and Argentina XV host Brazil in Neuquén.
Their sternest challenge is expected to come in round two when they face 2016 champions the Argentina XV in Rio Negro. The two sides drew their first two meetings in the Americas Rugby Championship before USA edged a tight battle 17-10 in 2018.
The USA will host two games, in Houston and Seattle, respectively. Meanwhile, Rugby Canada has opted to host its game against the USA in Seattle, also, working in conjunction with the Seattle Seawolves.
The United States first home match will take place in Houston on February 23 at the all new Aveva Stadium, home to the Houston SaberCats of Major League Rugby. Week three then sees the United States host Uruguay in Seattle on March 2 at the Seattle Seawolves home pitch, Starfire Sports Complex.
UPDATE: The Houston game has been moved to Dell Diamond in Round Rock, TX, just north of Austin.
Fans can register for the USA Rugby exclusive pre-sale for early access to the best seats.
Additionally, the United States will face Canada at Starfire Sports on March 8.
Rugby Canada will shortly release ticket information.
"As the Americas Rugby Championship continues to grow year over year, we're thrilled to host another two home matches in addition to our joint-venture with Rugby Canada.” Noted Men’s Eagles GM, Dave Hodges, “Brazil and Uruguay will bring a renewed spirit to the table and our home fans will be that much more vital to our success. It will be crucial for us to deliver in all five ARC test matches as we open our 2019 World Cup year."
Rugby Americas CEO Dan Payne added: “The leading competition within the Americas region, the 2019 Americas Rugby Championship, will look to prepare players from what we hope will be four countries, pending the results of the Repechage Tournament in Europe, for next year’s Rugby World Cup. Simultaneously, the competition serves as a vehicle to grow and promote rugby across all six countries as they each keep an eye toward 2023.”
Payne further added: “2018 saw two successful Rugby Americas tournaments in the ARC and the Americas Rugby Challenge. There are exciting plans already underway that will continue to add content to the growing Rugby Americas (Rugby Americas North & Sudamérica Rugby) competition portfolio.”
2019 Americas Rugby Championship Schedule
February 2 Uruguay v Canada in Montevideo
February 2 Argentina XV v Brazil in Neuquén
February 2 Chile v USA in Santiago
February 9 Argentina XV v USA in Río Negro
February 9 Brazil v Canada in Sao Paulo
February 9 Uruguay v Chile in Montevideo
Week 3 - Rest week
February 22 Canada v Chile in Langford
February 23 Argentina XV v Uruguay in Buenos Aires
February 23 USA v Brazil in Round Rock, TX
March 1 Canada v Argentina XV in Langford
March 2 USA v Uruguay in Seattle
March 2 Brazil v Chile in Sao Paulo
March 8 USA v Canada in Seattle (Canada Home Match)
March 9 Chile v Argentina XV in Santiago
March 9 Uruguay v Brazil in Montevideo
Canada is currently preparing for the RWC 2019 repechage in Marseille and will hope that by the time the Americas Rugby Championship kicks off they will have booked their ticket to Japan 2019 alongside Argentina, USA and Uruguay.
The tournament will be played in nine different cities across the Americas with broadcast details to be announced in due course.
"The Americas Rugby Championship is now in its fourth year and we are delighted with its growth over that period," said World Rugby Vice Chairman and Rugby Americas President Agustín Pichot. "The ARC was born out of the need to create a vehicle to inspire a younger generation of players and fans, while assisting in the development of the current players. Year on year, this has been widely achieved.
"2019 is a very big year for rugby. Having teams from the Americas involved in international competition in February is important in preparation for the year ahead, including Rugby World Cup. Furthermore, I’m delighted with the inclusion of a bye week in the interest of player welfare."
Rugby Americas CEO Dan Payne added: "The leading competition within the Americas region, the Americas Rugby Championship 2019, will look to prepare players from what we hope will be four countries, pending the results of the repechage tournament in Europe, for next year’s Rugby World Cup.
"Simultaneously, the competition serves as a vehicle to grow and promote rugby across all six countries as they each keep an eye toward 2023.
"2018 saw two successful Rugby Americas tournaments in the ARC and the Americas Rugby Challenge. There are exciting plans already underway that will continue to add content to the growing Rugby Americas (Rugby Americas North and Sudamérica Rugby) competition portfolio."