NA4 schedule announced by IRB
March 15, 2007

The IRB has announced the schedule, venue and kick-off details for the second annual IRB North America 4 Tournament.

The cross-border international competition, that involves two representative teams from both Canada and the USA, will kick off on 7 April.

"The IRB is committed to increasing global playing standards through the three-year US$50 million global strategic investment programme that was launched in August 2005. A key element of the programme was the implementation of a number of new Tournament structures in 2006 including the IRB North America 4," said International Rugby Board Head of Rugby Services, Mark Egan.

"The IRB North America 4 was introduced to provide both Canada and the USA with a highly-competitive cross-border Tournament that bridged the gap in the competition pathway between domestic Rugby and the full Test arena for around 120 locally-based players."

"The inaugural Tournament was a resounding success. Not only did it bring a meaningful regional competition to North America for the first time, with the double-header format capturing the imagination of the Rugby community in both countries, but it also served the purpose of identifying a pool of talent capable of progressing to Test level," added Egan.

Participation in the IRB North America 4 has proven to be an exciting development for both participating Unions. With Rugby World Cup 2007 a little over six months away, this year's Tournament will be invaluable in providing each country with the opportunity to assess the form of players who are pushing for international team selection.

"The goal for the Tournament is primarily development and getting our team to where it needs to be in terms of preparation for Rugby World Cup 2007 in France," said USA Head Coach Peter Thorburn.

"The IRB North America 4 gives us another opportunity to look at players who went well at our first Rugby World Cup training camp earlier this year and follow their progress through what is an extremely competitive Tournament ahead of the final squad selection for Rugby World Cup," added Thorburn.

The 2007 Tournament comprises three rounds in the USA in April and May, prior to the Barclays Churchill Cup, with the remaining two rounds and final taking place in Canada in late June and early July. Once again the competition format will feature double-header match days.

The action kicks off on 7 April when Canada West begins its title defence against Canada East at the University of British Columbia, Canada while the USA's two teams; the Hawks and the Falcons, play each other in San Diego, USA. Four further rounds will follow before the IRB North America 4 final is played in Abbotsford, USA on 7 July.

IRB North America 4 2007

(all kick-offs local time)

April 7

OMBC, San Diego, USA

USA Falcons v USA Hawks (1pm)

University of BC, Vancouver, Canada

Canada East v Canada West (5pm)

May 9

Stanford University, California, USA

Canada East v USA Falcons (4pm)

Canada West v USA Hawks May (6pm)

May 12

Stanford University, California, USA

Canada East v USA Hawks (1pm)

Canada West v USA Falcons (3pm)

June 29

Brockton Oval, Vancouver, Canada

Canada East v USA Falcons (5pm)

Canada West v USA Hawks (7pm)

July 3

Burnaby Lakes, British Columbia, Canada

Canada East v USA Hawks (5pm)

Canada West v USA Falcons (7pm)

Finals Day - July 7

Rotary Stadium, Abbottsford, Canada

Consolation Final (1pm)

Championship Final (3pm)

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