The USA Rugby Eagles will take on the defending 2013 Rugby World Cup champion New Zealand All Blacks in just over two weeks on Nov. 1 at Soldier Field. This historic matchup marks the first time the All Blacks have played on U.S. soil since 1980.

In preparation for this iconic match, the Windy City will transform into Rugby City for the week prior to the match, hosting several lead-up events that will not only get Chicago into the rugby spirit, but also provide opportunities for fans to engage with the local rugby community.

From the Grant Park Rookie Rugby Festival to the USA Rugby vs. All Blacks Gala to the Field Museum's special exhibition on the All Blacks' tradition of the Haka, there is an activity for fans of all ages and interests. See below for a full list of events, beginning on Saturday, Oct. 25 and Saturday, Nov. 1.

 

Saturday, Oct. 25

Grant Park Rookie Rugby Festival

Beginning at 10 a.m. at Lower Hutchinson Field at Grant Park, USA Rugby, AIG and Illinois Youth Rugby present the Grant Park Rookie Rugby Festival! There will be matches in three divisions, one in each age group from local elementary, middle and high schools.

 

Monday, Oct. 27

#FINDROOKIE in Chicago to Win!

Rookie the Eagle will be traveling to major Chicago landmarks starting on Monday, October 27 - if you search the hashtag #FindRookie, you could win prizes! What famous landmarks do you think Rookie should visit? Tweet @USARugby using the hashtag #FindRookie and let them know where you think he should stop for a selfie.

 

Thursday, Oct. 30 - December 1

The Field Museum Haka Exhibition

Learn more about the Haka, a traditional Maori challenge often used on the battlefield. At this special exhibit, you can learn how haka plays a key role in New Zealand society and why it is performed at sporting, military and cultural events alike. Plus, get $5 off admission to see the Haka exhibition by bringing your USA vs. All Blacks ticket stub or receipt to The Field Museum between Oct. 30 and Dec. 1, 2014.

 

Thursday, Oct. 30

Welcome to Chicago Fan Party

Taking place at Red Ivy in Wrigleyville, the Welcome to Chicago Fan Party will be a celebration of rugby and fun for fans from all corners of the world. Enjoy live music, great food, drink specials and a host of other surprises in a welcoming and authentic Chicago-style environment!

 

Thursday, Oct. 30

USA v All Blacks Fundraiser Gala

Join us for a VIP evening at historic Union Station in downtown Chicago. The USA Rugby Trust invites all fans to attend the Gala and meet select USA Eagles and All Blacks stars! Don't miss out on this opportunity - RSVP by Oct. 16.

 

Friday, Oct. 31

CARFU Masquerade Ball

The spirit of rugby will come alive at this Halloween event, taking place the night before the Eagles take on the All Blacks at Union Station. There will be prizes for best costume, best team theme and more!

 

Saturday, Nov. 1

USA Rugby College Fair

Rugger's Edge, Illinois Youth Rugby Association and Arbor Bridge are joining forces along with USA Rugby to present a free College Fair, taking place at the Hilton Chicago at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1.

 

Saturday, Nov. 1

#USAvALLBLACKS Fan Fest at Soldier Field

Don't miss the biggest Fan Fest in USA Rugby history! The official Fan Fest will take place on match day at the Stadium Green at Soldier Field from 11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Be sure to check out AIG inflatables, World Rugby Shop Challenge, USA Rugby and event specific merchandise and much more!

 

Saturday, Nov. 1

USA vs. All Blacks at Soldier Field

Kickoff for the biggest event in US Rugby history is set for 2:30 p.m. CST with live coverage on NBC Sports Network.

Find out more information about the week's festivities, including how to attend and take part, here.

Written by Abbey Canning