For American rugby fans, the outcome of today’s USA-New Zealand match at FedEx Stadium in Landover, Maryland was never in doubt. If the Yanks were to even score a try, the day would be a success in the inaugural 1874 Cup
But what many came for is to witness in person one of the true great moments in all of sport: The New Zealand Rugby Team performing the Haka before a match. And with the recent death of Sean Wainui, it became even more special.
The Eagles presented the All Blacks with two jerseys honoring their fallen friend before the ceremony began, and a hushed stadium took it in thusly.
Wainui, a Maori member of the team, was killed in a single-vehicle crash at McLaren Falls Park on Monday. His No. 11 jersey, along with that of former New Zealand star Jerry Collins, were the gifts given by Team USA.
In what has been an emotional week for the best rugby team in the world, this Haka was particularly memorable. This was the first appearance for New Zealand on American soil since 2016, and was played for the 1874 Cup, a trophy honoring the first time rugby was played in America between McGill University and Harvard University in that same year.
New Zealand leads the United States 92-14 in the 70th minute.