Harlequins to play U.S. in pre-season friendly

LONDON, April 29 (Reuters) - Harlequins will play a pre-season friendly against the United States in Philadelphia in August, the English Premiership club said on Wednesday.

It will be the first time Harlequins have toured the United States in the professional era, following tours in the 1970s and 80s.

"Harlequins is a globally recognised club and this match will help drive our global ambitions," Harlequins chief executive David Ellis told the club's website (www.quins.co.uk).

"Rugby in the USA is a sleeping giant and we are looking forward to being a part of this unique occasion as we begin to help develop the sport in America."

The U.S. will use the fixture as a warm-up to this year's World Cup where they have been drawn in Pool B alongside South Africa, Samoa, Scotland and Japan.

"We look forward to welcoming Harlequins to the USA this August; this fixture is an exciting opportunity for both teams involved," USA rugby chief executive Nigel Melville told a press conference on Wednesday.

"Philadelphia is truly a rugby hotbed and we are excited to be back. Harlequins will provide a stern opposition to the USA as we prepare for the 2015 Rugby World Cup." (Reporting by Michael Hann; editing by Justin Palmer)

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