The ever-versatile Dell Diamond will once again turn into a pitch as Ryan Sanders Entertainment hosts USA Rugby versus Brazil in the second annual Americas Rugby Championship Saturday, Feb. 11 at 6:00 p.m.
The Express will host one of only two Americas Rugby Championship games played in the United States this year. The five-week tournament will again feature six of North and South America’s top-ranked international rugby union teams: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Uruguay and USA. San Antonio will host the other US-based match.
“We’re excited to host USA Rugby in the Americas Rugby Championship for the second consecutive year,” said Ryan Sanders Baseball COO JJ Gottsch. “Bringing in events like this one not only showcase the versatility of Dell Diamond on an international level but really help heighten the game of rugby here in Texas. We’re looking forward to growing this match and welcoming even more fans through the gates this year.”
This is the second year Dell Diamond will be home to the USA Rugby Eagles as the team faced off against Canada earlier in 2016 as part of the inaugural tournament. Over 7,000 fans were in attendance to see the Eagles hold off Canada 30-22 before the World Rugby U20 Trophy qualifier match between the AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans and their Canadian U-20 counterparts.
Rugby continues to be the fastest growing team sport in the United States with the number of rugby players doubling between 2008 and 2013 to almost 1.2 million, according to data from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. In Texas alone, the sport has seen 23.14% growth from 2013-14 and 2015-16, second in the nation for the fastest growing geographical union. The Central Texas region ranks ninth highest in best per-capita rugby membership and is home to two of the largest men’s rugby clubs in the nation for 2015-16: Austin Huns (8th, 117 members) and Austin Blacks (10th, 110 members). The Austin Valkyries, the 11th largest women’s club, also calls Central Texas home.