America set out its stall to host the Rugby World Cup at FedEx Field, just outside of Washington. The crowd erupted in applause, the Star-Spangled Banner was played, and New Zealand scored numerous tries.
That was expected, and USA Rugby, and possibly World Rugby, are looking ahead. This was a taste of things to come, seen through the most rosy spectacles possible. It was also an exhibition of pure All Black attack, albeit more like a training DVD than a competition.
The United States Rugby Union expected 50,000 spectators, but only attracted roughly 10,000. Nonetheless, the majority of the supporters belonged to a thriving American subculture, proudly wearing school, college, club, or even service academy colors. Army defeated Navy 24-17 in a tense curtain-raiser.
The pre-game ceremonies, which are a feature of each international, were tinged with pain that was still fresh. There was a moment of quiet from the Americans in honor of Kathy Flores, a brilliant player and coach who passed away this week. Before the haka, the All Blacks took an 11-second pause to remember Maori winger Sean Wainui, who died in a vehicle accident at the age of 25. The US captain, Bryce Campbell, placed a No. 11 shirt on the turf.
Campbell’s Eagles then covered every blade… while chasing shadows of the All Blacks.
source : guardian sport