Receive Breaking News updates as they occur
The All Blacks' first visit to the United States in 34 years is set to shatter the rugby attendance record in America and, hopefully, pique interest in the game Stateside. Soldier Field, home of the NFL's Chicago Bears, is sold-out for the one-off Test on Saturday, promising an historic crowd of 61,000-plus that will more than treble the previous record rugby crowd of 20,181 for a United States match against Ireland in Houston in 2013. Regardless of the outcome, it's a milestone moment for a USA Rugby federation keen to raise the profile of the game in the crowded US sports landscape. "This is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase the global game of rugby to American sports fans," said USA Rugby Chief Executive Officer Nigel Melville, a former England captain.
Boko Haram has claimed the 219 schoolgirls it kidnapped in Nigeria earlier this year have converted to Islam and been married off, according to a new video obtained by AFP on Friday. The Islamist group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, also denied claims by Nigeria's government that it had agreed to a ceasefire and apparently ruled out future talks. In addition, Shekau said the Islamists were holding a German national, who was kidnapped in Adamawa state in northeast Nigeria in July. The schoolgirls were kidnapped from the remote northeast town of Chibok in Borno state in April, raising global awareness about the group whose five-year insurgency in northern Nigeria has claimed an estimated 13,000 lives.