Los Angeles, CA (June 6, 2013)USA Rugby Rising, a new, six episode original docu-series by Universal Sports, debuts  this Saturday, June 8, with back-to-back airings of the first two episodes at 7:30 and 8:00 PM ET. Immediately following the series premiere, Team USA takes on Ireland in a high-stakes international test match at 8:30 PM ET LIVE at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, TX.

USA Rugby Rising, fueled by Gatorade, follows a group of Americans determined to make the United States a Tier 1 rugby nation in the eyes of the world. From preparation and nutrition to motivation and personal sacrifice, USA Rugby Rising goes behind-the-scenes with the athletes and coaches who must dig deep to win from within on their quest to take USA Rugby to the next level.

The series’ first two episodes follow USA Rugby’s recent preparations for Saturday’s match in Houston against rugby powerhouse Ireland. The two countries last met in an emotional bout for Team USA on September 11, 2011 at the Rugby World Cup where the Eagles were defeated 22-10.

USA Rugby Rising is a compelling look at the daily challenges and triumphs of the entire team as they prepare for one of the biggest challenges of their career,” said Dean Walker, SVP of production, Universal Sports Network. “Embedding our production team with USA Rugby provides a unique and intimate perspective at the heart of this team, and what is driving their goal to become a Tier 1 nation in the globally popular sport of rugby.”

In the premiere episode of USA Rugby Rising, Team Captain Todd Clever has just two weeks to unify a group of professional and amateur athletes into one cohesive unit before the important and high-profile Ireland match. The physically powerful Clever, one of America’s few full-time professional rugby players, demonstrates the toughness it takes to play on Team USA and describes what the squad must do both on and off the pitch to compete against the world’s best.

“We are capable of being a Tier 1 nation,” states Clever. “It’s a weight on our shoulders that we want. We want to prove to the world and show our fans that USA Rugby is growing and we can do it.”

The second episode of USA Rugby Rising focuses on the team’s final preparations for the Ireland match in Houston, and prominently features the daily struggles of Mike Petri, scrum-half for the USA Eagles.  Petri, a Brooklyn native, must balance his full-time job as a science teacher at Xavier High School in New York City with training for the Eagles on his own whenever and wherever he can find the time.

“It’s got to come from within. It’s got to be self-motivated,” commented Petri on training for the USA rugby team. “It’s a road less traveled, but I love it and wouldn’t change it.”

The heart-pounding original TV series will be complemented by USA Rugby Rising bonus content on UniversalSports.com, Gatorade.com and USARugby.org. The webisodes feature the USA Rugby men’s and women’s athletes and coaches demonstrating rugby basics, sharing personal workout and fueling regimens, and offering glimpses of a day-in-the-life of training covering everything from preparation through recovery.

For a video preview of USA vs. Ireland and to watch USA Rugby Rising webisodes, log on to UniversalSports.com/Rugby.

Universal Sports Network 2013 Rugby Broadcast Schedule:

Subject to change – All Times Eastern

 

DATE                     TIME                              EVENT

June 8                   7:30 PM                        USA Rugby Rising – Episode 1: Training Camp Part 1

June 8                   8:00 PM                        USA Rugby Rising – Episode 2: Training Camp Part 2

June 8                   8:30 PM LIVE              USA vs. Ireland (Men)

June 14                 8:00 PM LIVE              USA vs. France (Women)

June 14                 10:30 PM LIVE            USA vs. Tonga (Men) – Pacific Nations Cup

June 19                 7:00 PM                        USA Rugby Rising – Episode 3: USA Takes on Ireland

June 19                 8:00 PM                        USA vs. Fiji (Men) – Pacific Nations Cup

June 23                 12:00 PM                     USA vs. Japan (Men) – Pacific Nations Cup

June 27                 8:00 PM                        USA Rugby Rising – Episode 4: Women’s Sevens Face the World

June 27                 8:30 PM                        USA Rugby Rising – Episode 5: Men’s Sevens Face the World

June 28-30          TBA                                Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 (Moscow, Russia)

July 12                   8:00 PM                        USA Rugby Rising – Episode 6: Team USA at the Rugby World Cup

July 15                   8:00 PM                        World Cup Sevens Highlight Show

July 15                   10 PM – 2 AM            USA Rugby Rising Block Party (Episodes 1 – 6)

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TWITTER: Can Team USA be Tier 1? Watch #USARugbyRising premiere this SAT at 7:30pmET on @UniversalSports to see their journey #winfromwithin http://bit.ly/16KilaD

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