Last updated: 08:00 PM ET, Wed August 05 2015

Get Ready for Rugby and the NFL in Britain

Destination & Tourism | James Ruggia | August 05, 2015

Get Ready for Rugby and the NFL in Britain

PHOTO: The Rugby World Cup is getting ready to rumble in 11 cities in England and Wales and the U.S. has a team in the hunt. (Courtesy of Rugby World Cup)

This coming fall will see a lot of tackling in the U.K. as the kingdom gets ready to host the Rugby World Cup and three more NFL games in London. First the rugby: from Sept. 19 to Nov. 1 we will see one big scrum come to England and Wales as the Rugby World Cup gets under way. Rugby Union sees a lot of growth in the interest in the sport in the United States. There are more than 2,500 clubs in the U.S. and some 450,000 American players. This could be a very successful come-on for British travel this fall. BritRail has created a Free Day Promotion on its BritRail Passes that could be a great assistance to those who want to see a multitude of matches in different cities.

Forty-eight matches will be played across 11 cities and 14 stadiums as three London stadiums are participating: Twickenham, Wembley and Olympic. It will be a real tour of England and Wales with Gloucester, Cardiff, Brighton, Leeds, Birmingham, Exeter, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Leicester and Manchester also hosting matches.

Any BritRail England Passes and BritRail South West Passes purchased by Sept. 18, will have an extra day added on a separate coupon. All of the host cities are accessible by rail. BritRail Pass, BritRail England Pass and BritRail South West Pass come in different fare levels for Adult, Senior, Child, Free Child and Youth.

Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Georgia, Japan, Ireland, Italy, Namibia, New Zealand, Romania, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Tonga, Uruguay, Wales and the USA will square off in four different pools.

Unfortunately for the U.S. team, they find themselves in the same pool as the South African Springboks. Insiders see a dark horse in the U.S. team who may surprise everyone. The four top teams on paper are New Zealand, England, South Africa and Australia. It all gets started for the U.S. squad against Samoa in Brighton’s Community Stadium on Sept. 20. The U.S. team is using Leeds as its home base and practice grounds during the tournament.

Leeds, England’s third largest city is in Yorkshire, a county known for stately homes, ancient ruins and such national parks as the Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors and Peak District. Yorkshire is also home to the cities of York, Sheffield, Bradford and Hull as well as Leeds. Hosting Rugby World Cup 2015 is estimated to be worth £2.1 billon to the British economy.

NFL Growing in the U.K.

London’s Wembley Stadium has been hosting NFL games since 2007 and it will host three more this year: the New York Jets versus the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 4; the Jacksonville Jaguars versus Buffalo Bills on Oct. 25; and the Kansas City Chiefs versus the Detroit Lions on Nov. 1. The NFL recently agreed to a 10-year deal with Tottenham Hotspur to play two games a year from 2018 on when its new 61,000-seat stadium opens north of London.

The games at Wembley have sold out consistently and the fan base for American football is growing rapidly as the NFL claims the average game has attracted a TV audience in the U.K. of 83,000 households. About 900,000 people have attended the 11 games that have been played so far at Wembley. 

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