Monday 31st October 2005
The 2006 Churchill Cup will be contested by six nations from Europe, North America and New Zealand and will be staged across four cities in Canada and the USA.
The exciting new structure was announced today by the Rugby Football Union, Rugby Canada and USA Rugby (the three nations who form the alliance of the Churchill Cup) and enables even more people to experience world class rugby on their doorstep.
England A, Team Canada and the USA Eagles will be joined by Scotland A, Ireland A and the 2004 winners the New Zealand Maori in the 2006 Churchill Cup which will staged in June. Two pools of three teams will play on both coasts of North America with all six teams travelling to Edmonton, Alberta for the finals.
Francis Baron, Chief Executive of the Rugby Football Union, said, "The tournament has grown in popularity each year and with the aim of the tournament to grow and develop rugby in North America we are delighted that the Churchill Cup will travel to four different cities in 2006. The involvement of Scotland, Ireland and New Zealand Maori shows that the tournament provides a useful development tool for teams and we are looking forward to some exciting matches next summer. The tournament is becoming a world class event and is the biggest rugby tournament in North America, and we are delighted that the International Rugby Board have chosen to endorse the tournament and provide some funding for the participating teams."
Pool A will play in San Francisco and contains USA, Ireland A and New Zealand Maori. Pool B will play in Toronto and Ottawa and contains Canada, England A and Scotland A. Pool matches will be staged on Saturday 3rd June, Wednesday 7th June and Saturday 10th June. All six nations will travel to the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton for the finals day on Saturday 17th June.
England A will be coached by Brian Ashton. Brian said, "I will be expecting a series of outstanding performances from each player at the Churchill Cup - the sort of performance that makes the opposition teams realise that England are different and difficult to play. It's absolutely vital we have these England A games. When players are taken out of their normal environment with their mates and put into a relatively foreign environment, it's a benchmark, offering us the chance to see how they might cope at full international level."
This is the first time the tournament has been played across two countries. The tournament has grown in popularity since it's introduction in 2003 and this summer over 17,000 spectators enjoyed the two week tournament, which was won by England.
The Churchill Cup continues to attract interest from all over the world and this summer the tournament was broadcast in five countries. All nine matches of the 2006 Churchill Cup will be broadcast live in the UK by Sky Sports as well as in Canada, the USA and across Asia and the Middle East. Paul Vaughan, Commercial Director of the Rugby Football Union, said, "The interest in the Churchill Cup continues to grow each year. The time difference works well for a UK viewing audience and it is great news for English rugby fans that they will be able to watch all nine matches next summer. With six teams playing across four cities we are hopeful that even more people around the world will enjoy watching this exciting tournament."
2006 Churchill Cup:
Saturday 3rd June -
England A v. Scotland A, Toronto
USA v. Ireland A, San Francisco
Wednesday 7th June -
Canada v. Scotland A, Ottawa
USA v. New Zealand Maori, San Francisco
Saturday 10th June -
Canada v. England A, Toronto
New Zealand Maori v. Ireland A, San Francisco
Saturday 17th June -
All three finals, Edmonton