Munster Rugby have announced that their pre-season programme for the 2008/09 campaign will include a return to the United States and a fixture against their fellow Heineken Cup semi-finalists London Irish.
Munster’s 2008/09 pre-season programme will be sponsored by the Cork International Operations Centre of IT Business Technology company EMC, who employ 1600 people at their facility in Ovens in County Cork and whose worldwide headquarters is in Hopkinton, Massachusetts.
The province’s trip to Boston will be hosted by the Irish Cultural Centre of New England in Canton, and the game between Munster and the US Eagles will be the first national team match hosted by USA Rugby in the Boston area for several years.
USA Rugby event administrators are already looking forward to a big turnout in an area with great Irish tradition and culture.
“As an Irish umbrella organisation for Irish Heritage and Culture, we are honored to have been chosen by USA Rugby to host this match between these two great teams at our 48 acre campus in Canton,” said Irish Cultural Centre executive director Sean Grant.
“Even though it is just being officially announced, the Irish community is already very excited about the prospect of having a professional rugby match here in New England.
“The members of the Irish Cultural Centre and our home team, the Boston Irish Wolfhounds, are proud to showcase the great Irish tradition of rugby, represented by Munster Rugby. I know many will want to be present at this historic event.”
Munster and the USA played each other last year at Chicago’s Toyota Park with Munster claiming the Setanta Sports Challenge Cup after a hard fought 10-6 victory. The Eagles used the game as a final preparation before they departed for the Rugby World Cup.
Speaking about the return of Munster, USA Rugby CEO and president of rugby, Nigel Melville, said. “It’s obviously exciting to have Munster, one of the best teams in Europe, coming back to the USA. Building a relationship with a professional team of their calibre is great for USA Rugby.
“Munster were very keen to play in Boston, with its strong Irish heritage. New England is a great place for USA Rugby as well, as we have a large following in the North East and know everyone will get behind the arrival of both Munster and our Eagles in Boston.”
Welcoming the fixture against the Eagles, Munster coach Declan Kidney commented: “Last year’s trip was hugely beneficial to us and we are delighted that once again we are going to be in a position to expose our players to quality international opposition.
“With some many Irish people now living in the Boston area, we won’t lack for support and we’re looking their support and renewing acquaintances with our friends in USA Rugby.”
Tickets for this match will be available through Ticketmaster, starting May 30. More information will be made available regarding group rates and prices, closer to that date.
If you want to be part of the action, Munster Sports Travel are offering supporter tours for the Munster team trip to Boston. The trip will take place from August 18 to 23. For more information, please visit www.munstersportstravel.com.