The newly announced tournament, which begins on St Patrick’s weekend 2019 in Boston, features “A” squads from Connacht, Leinster, Munster, Ulster, and New England’s 1st Professional Rugby Team, The Free Jacks
Opening day sees the Free Jacks hosting Connacht A on Saturday, March 16
Six matches in total all to be played in New England in spring 2019
Sets the stage for the Free Jacks entry into the 2020 MLR competition
Boston, Mass. (November 9, 2018)– The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and the Free Jacks, New England’s newly announced Major League Rugby team, have joined forces to bring high-level professional rugby to the United States in the spring of 2019.
The competition, which features provincial “A” squads from Connacht, Leinster, Munster, Ulster, along with the nascent New England Free Jacks, will provide intense learning for up-and-coming professional players from both Ireland and the United States and provide a window into the excitement of high-quality rugby to the rapidly growing rugby fan base in the greater Boston area.
“We have a year to develop a high performing professional rugby club, on and off the field, and there is no more fitting and exciting way than to bring the tradition and excellence of Ireland Rugby to New England,” newly announced Chief Executive of the Free Jacks, Alex Magleby, said, noting the Free Jacks’ 2020 regular season entry into the Major League Rugby competition. “We very much look forward to hosting our Irish friends with open arms, treating them to classic New England hospitality with a boisterous crowd and worthy match day experiences.”
Fittingly, the opening round will feature the Free Jacks playing host to Connacht A on Saturday, March 16, to kick off the revelry of St Patrick’s Day weekend in Boston. On Wednesday, March 20, the Free Jacks will present an evening match between Connacht and Ulster, and on Sunday, March 24, Ulster A will take on New England to finish out Round I.
Round II will feature a three-match series with a similar format beginning Saturday, April 6, as the Free Jacks take on the mighty men of Munster, play host to Munster A and Leinster A on Wednesday, April 10, and finish out the competition with the Dubliners, on Sunday, April 14.
David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented: "These matches will bring significant value to the development of our emerging professional players, coaches, and support staff. Sharing our collective insight and experiences through these matches with the rapidly growing rugby population and fanbase in New England is an exciting challenge. We also have many Irish Rugby supporters in the greater Boston area we are excited to connect with again."
The Free Jacks’ vision stoutly centers around growing rugby in New England, sharing the power, excitement, egalitarianism, and values of the game with new fans, and helping the USA National Teams continue to mature into a world rugby power.
“The IRFU shares similar values to those of the Free Jacks, other sports teams in Boston, and the people of New England—respect, inclusivity, fun, and excellence,” said Magleby. “The competition will be significant and challenging but it also will be highly entertaining to see this all play out over six intense matches this spring.”
Final match day locations, times, and ticket information will be announced in the coming weeks. All matches will be hosted in New England:
Free Jacks v Connacht A | March 16, 2019
Connacht A v Ulster A | March 20, 2019
Free Jacks v Ulster A | March 24, 2019
Free Jacks v Munster A | April 6, 2019
Munster A v Leinster A | April 10, 2019
Free Jacks v Leinster A | April 14, 2019
Ireland Rugby Football Union
The Ireland Rugby Football Union (IRFU) represents the island of Ireland in rugby union—both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The men’s team competes annually in the Six Nations Championship, which they have won fourteen times outright and shared nine times in its various formats, and are currently ranked 2nd in the world. The IRFU operates four professional provincial teams Connacht (based in Galway), Leinster (based in Dublin), Munster (based in Limerick), and Ulster (based in Belfast), who all play in the Guinness PRO14 and EPCR European Champions & Challenge Cups.
For more information on Ireland Rugby Football Union:
David O Siochain
New England Free Jacks
Rugby Club New England, aka the Free Jacks, is greater Boston's 1st Professional Rugby team representing all the greatness of the six New England states on and off the field. The Free Jacks were named the 9th member of Major League Rugby on September 20th and will compete in the 2020 MLR regular season.
For more information on the Free Jacks:
Major League Rugby
Major League Rugby (MLR) is a professional rugby league, launched in April 2018. It is an initiative of the American rugby community, in partnership with private investors, who believe that American rugby can thrive at the highest levels—as a commercial enterprise; as an influential player on the international scene; and as a participation sport at the youth and senior level. MLR is the pinnacle of American rugby, and provides a rallying point for local communities, a focal point for American rugby fans, and an aspirational destination for young athletes.
For more information on Major League Rugby