Leicester Tigers will make history this summer when they head to the USA to take part in the first ever rugby match involving a professional American rugby club side, as they take on the Rough Riders at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. In light of this historic game, we take a look at some of the other important matches that have helped shape rugby through the years.
Rugby School - 1823
The place that it all began. William Webb Ellis is said to have picked up a football and run with it. There is plenty of controversy about the story of Webb Ellis, but the Rugby World Cup trophy is named after this English schoolboy, sealing his place in the history of the game.
Barbarians v New Zealand - Cardiff Arms Park, January 1973
In rugby union, there is general consensus that this is the best try ever. The Barbarians won 23-11, but this score is still talked about to this day. In 2002, it was voted number 20 in the list of the 100 Greatest Sporting Moments.
“Kirkpatrick to Williams. This is great stuff. Phil Bennett covering. Chased by Alistair Scown. Brilliant! Oh, that's brilliant! John Williams, Bryan Williams. Pullin. John Dawes, great dummy. To David, Tom David, the half-way line! Brilliant by Quinnell! This is Gareth Edwards! A dramatic start! What a score!”
South Africa v New Zealand - Ellis Park, Johannesburg, Rugby World Cup Final 1995
The first Rugby World Cup in which the Springboks were allowed to compete, this was more about a nation. A post-apartheid South Africa beat the All Blacks 15-12 in the final, but the most memorable moment of the entire tournament was President Nelson Mandela presenting the Webb Ellis Cup to captain Francois Pienaar, wearing a Springboks shirt and cap. The story would go on to be made into a book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation, as well as Invictus, a 2009 film starring Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman, which went on to make $122 million at the box office.
New Zealand v USA - Soldier Field, Chicago, November 2014
The most famous rugby side in the world headed Stateside for the first time, taking the All Blacks brand to a new level. The game was a sell-out, over 61.500 fans packing the stadium, as New Zealand won 74-6. But this wasn’t about the result, it was about marketing rugby, which has been the fastest growing sport in the USA since 2008.
These are 4 of the most important matches in our sport, but are there ant that you think we have missed? Let us know through the usual channels - Tweet us @Rugbystuff or comment on the relevant post on our Facebook page.