Ireland parts with head coach ahead of USA Eagles match

HOUSTON, Texas -- Just two months away from international competition against the USA and Canada, the governing body of Ireland’s national rugby team has parted ways with head coach Declan Kidney. The team will be led by interim head coach Les Kiss through the team’s tour of North America, which will include the June 8 test match against The USA Eagles at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston (buy tickets).

Kidney brought Ireland to the forefront of international rugby, winning a Grand Slam in the Six Nations Tournament in 2009 and making an appearance in the quarterfinals of the 2011 World Cup. Since that time, the team has not performed up to national expectations, losing multiple test matches and finishing fifth in last year’s Six Nations tournament.

The USA Men’s National Team will look to get their first win over Ireland when the teams face off on Saturday, June 8 at BBVA Compass Stadium. In 2012, Houston set a national record with over 17,000 fans in attendance when the USA played Italy in the first international rugby match the City hosted in over 10 years. Over 5,000 tickets have been sold to date which puts the June match on pace for a sell-out crowd.

“We look forward to continuing Houston’s reputation as a destination for national and international sporting events,” Harris County – Houston Sports Authority CEO Janis Schmees Burke said. “The match with Ireland is sure to be a great time for both countries to celebrate their national pride through the spirit of sports.”

Individual tickets to the game are available starting at $20 and are available online at and, by calling 888-929-7849, or at the BBVA Compass Stadium Ticket Office, which is open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Volunteers, Rugby Geniuses and high school rugby players will be at Houston’s International Festival (iFest) April 20-21 in downtown Houston to promote the match with exclusive giveaways and fun interactive opportunities. Volunteers will also have a presence at Buzz Fest at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion on April 20.