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The All Blacks have a supporter in the US House of Representatives with a congressman welcoming the "legendary" team to America ahead of their clash against the USA Eagles this weekend.
Speaking next to a picture of the All Blacks haka, Republican congressman Alex Mooney, who is co-chair of the congressional rugby caucus, said the All Blacks are "the world's most famous rugby club" and their visit to Washington DC could be an "important barometer" for America to host the Rugby World Cup in the future.
"I'm excited to see the legendary New Zealand All Blacks take the pitch against the USA national men's rugby team when they face off this Saturday October 23rd (Sunday NZT)," Mooney said in an address to the House of Representatives.
"We hope to pack FedEx Field here in DC. The All Blacks of New Zealand are the world's most famous rugby club. They strike fear in their opponents with their world-famous traditional pre-game war dance called the haka."
Mooney said rugby is a growing sport in the US and the All Blacks' upcoming clash against the Eagles could be the first step in showing off America's credentials for hosting a World Cup in the future.
"Men and women's rugby are fast-growing sports in America and give us all a chance to put partisan politics aside," he said. "That's why bringing an international event of this magnitude to the DC area is a tremendous accomplishment USA Rugby, Events DC and Leftfield Live. The match is an important barometer for the ability to host future world class events including the Rugby World Cup."
Mooney, who chairs the congressional rugby caucus alongside Democrat congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, played rugby in university and fell in love with the sport.
The All Blacks take on the USA on Sunday at 8.30am before heading to Europe for matches against Wales, Italy, Ireland and France.