For many, it will be a leap into the unknown when Saracens and Newcastle Falcons play stateside this Saturday in Aviva Premiership Rugby.
But Sarries prop Titi Lamositele is home, and he can’t wait to show off rugby to the millions expected to tune in as the heavyweights meet at the Talen Energy Stadium in Philadelphia.
The weekend’s match – which kicks off 10pm UK time – marks the second occasion Aviva Premiership Rugby has headed to America following Saracens’ clash with London Irish two years ago, and USA international Lamositele insists rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in the country.
The league match will be staged by Premiership Rugby as part of a new four-year agreement with AEG – the world’s leading sports and live entertainment company – and in conjunction with NBC Sports.
— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) September 11, 2017
The match is only one part of a week that will grow the game in the United States and bring Premiership Rugby to a new audience.
Coaching clinics have already taken place in New York and Washington in a partnership with the Friends of the British Council, and 20 young American players and ten coaches will come to England next Spring on Premiership Rugby scholarships.
For tickets to the match in Philadelphia go to premiershiprugbyusa.com
In a land where American football and baseball rule, the desire to see world class rugby is only growing and 22-year-old Lamositele is excited to see that step up a notch on Saturday evening.
“I think it’s great to have high quality rugby in the US, it will show the guys what it’s all about and the game should be very exciting,” he said.
“The Falcons are a really exciting team, they scored a lot of tries last season and have some good wingers which will be good for the contest – it should be a good match with some good scores and some big hits.
“The Americans love any action and especially ones that involve big hits – I think we can produce something special.
“A lot of Americans I think are leaning towards rugby now, they really appreciate the tackling side of the game. Sport is a major part of being American and I think rugby can really grow.
“There are some diehard fans out there who love rugby and let’s hope we can generate even more of those type of fans for future generations to come.
“American fans love to celebrate and have somebody to root for, if that can be Saracens then great, but as long as we can engage the fans into what rugby can bring to the country then who knows what will happen.”
From Washington, Lamositele grew up on the opposite side of the vast country to Philadelphia – but is adamant the city is perfect to host such a key match of the season.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) September 12, 2017
With the NFL just kicked off Philadelphia is buzzing, and Lamositele believes fans travelling across the Atlantic will fall in love with it.
“I’ve been to Philly a few times, it’s a really cool city, one of the best and oldest cities in the US so it has plenty of history. It’s quite small and there’s plenty to do so the boys can expect a great time,” he said.
“They have the cheesesteak out there and every place says they make the best cheesesteak – I think a few of the lads will enjoy a cheesesteak, it will be a good experience for them to sample to culture.
“The American Football season is back underway and the city is in love with that sport, the Eagles are a good team and I’m sure the boys would want to see a game, it’s a pretty cool sport.”
After a series of new overseas TV rights deals Premiership Rugby is now being broadcast in over 200 countries, reaching more than 170 million households around the world. These new viewers include a large number in the USA where this season Premiership Rugby is being broadcast – for the first time – on the world famous NBC Sports network.
The match is sanctioned by the United States Rugby Union and USA Rugby’s Chief Executive Dan Payne is looking forward to seeing Premiership Rugby in Philadelphia.
“This match-up is yet another opportunity for our American rugby fans and future fans to witness, first hand, up close and personal, the product created by some of the world’s top professional teams,” said Payne.
“We’re thankful to the Premiership Rugby, Saracens, Newcastle Falcons and our partners, AEG and NBC Sports, for providing this opportunity to the American public.
“I’m looking forward to a tremendous display of our great game that will fuel our growth plan domestically…a plan for growth in participation, overall awareness, national broadcast & commercially. This event ticks each of those very important boxes!”