For the first time, international rugby will be played in California.
USA Rugby will host Canada on June 21st. The match will be played on the new soccer field under construction in Sacramento at Cal Expo.
Jon Persch with USA Rugby says in the last five years, the number of Northern California rugby clubs has increased from 15 to 170. He says the state leads the way when it comes to growing the sport nationally.
"The United States now has become much more of a global society and much more of a consuming global sports society as opposed to an insular sports society when we grew up," Persch says. "We had three channels and football, baseball, basketball and that was it and soccer wasn't even something that was on the radar scope. And I think the American sporting mentality has changed a little bit."
USA Rugby approached the Sacramento Sports Commission with the idea of bringing rugby to Sacramento. The sports commission and Sac Republic FC quickly agreed to host the event.
7,000 tickets will go on sale next week and the match will be televised nationally.
There are at least 230 youth rugby clubs in the state.
"Both Southern California and Northern California youth rugby associations are really beacons and pillars of youth rugby here in the U.S.," Persch says. "When we kind of hold up the growth of youth sport, we look to California to drive a lot of that."
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