Rugby: NZ Maori to tour northern hemisphere

The Maori side, who will again be coached by Jamie Joseph, will arrive in England on November 7, before facing nine-time English champions Leicester on Tuesday, November 13. Photo / Getty Images.
The Maori side, who will again be coached by Jamie Joseph, will arrive in England on November 7, before facing nine-time English champions Leicester on Tuesday, November 13. Photo / Getty Images.

The New Zealand Maori rugby team will head to the northern hemisphere in November to take on the Leicester Tigers, Canada and a RFU Championship select XV.

Hosted by the Rugby Football Union, the Maori side, who will again be coached by Jamie Joseph, will arrive in England on November 7, before facing nine-time English champions Leicester at Welford Road on Tuesday, November 13.

The squad will then travel further north to Castle Park where they will take on a RFU Championship select XV on Saturday, November 17, headed up by Bedford Blues coach Mike Rayer.

Finally, the New Zealanders will play Canada at Oxford University Sports Centre on Friday, November 23.

The RFU Championship XV will comprise entirely of English qualified players, and will take place during a fallow week for the second-tier clubs.

New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew said the tour was a great opportunity for the Maori side who had a strong heritage.

"The Maori All Blacks have been an important part of New Zealand's rugby history and this UK tour reflects a NZRU commitment to a meaningful programme for the Maori All Blacks."

The tour is part of a wider programme of November fixtures for Tier 2 teams supported by the International Rugby Board to ensure that these sides have access to an annual high-level competition schedule within the Rugby World Cup cycle.

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "This is an exciting development for the global Game. The IRB is committed to facilitating and facilitating an annual international competition schedule for our Tier 2 Unions and these matches will be key to increased competitiveness on the global stage and at Rugby World Cup. I would like to thank the RFU and the NZRU for their support.

"There will be an unprecedented number of international fixtures across the UK in November, which will give sports fans a taste of what to expect in 2015 when England hosts the world's top 20 nations for Rugby World Cup."

New Zealand Maori UK Tour:

Game 1 v Leicester Tigers, Tuesday November 13, Welford Road.

Game 2 v RFU Championship XV, Saturday November 17, Castle Park.

Game 3 v Canada, Friday November 23, Oxford University Sports Centre.

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