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Ireland to play Maori All Blacks in NZ

Tue, 17/05/2022, 1:13 am
Reuters
by Reuters
Ireland will play the Maori All Blacks for the first time since 2010
Ireland will play the Maori All Blacks for the first time since 2010

Ireland will play the Maori All Blacks in two mid-week matches during their three-Test tour of New Zealand next month.

The Triple Crown champions will meet the representative team in Hamilton on June 29, three days before they kick off their regular All Blacks series at Eden Park.

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The second Maori All Blacks clash will be in Wellington on July 12.

"The Maori All Blacks will provide a stern test of our squad strength and depth," Ireland coach Andy Farrell said in a statement on Tuesday.

"They are effectively a Test match side that have a proud tradition and impressive record of results.

"This tour is a huge opportunity for the group to develop and test itself against the best in their own backyard.  Playing five games against such quality opposition will be of huge benefit to the group as we tour for the first time since 2018.”

Ireland have played the Maori All Blacks twice in over 130 years, losing both matches.

They were beaten 13-4 by the team formerly known as the New Zealand Natives at Lansdowne Road in Dublin in 1888.

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Their last meeting was in 2010 at Rotorua International Stadium where the Maori All Blacks won a 31-28 thriller.

"Our rivalry goes back more than 100 years and that will only add to the occasion," Maori All Blacks coach Clayton McMillan said.

"To play the world's fourth-ranked team in a two-match series is an exciting prospect and we expect both games to be huge challenges.

“Playing in Aotearoa is always special, and we know we have huge support in both Te Whanganui a Tara and Kirikiriroa.

"We’re looking forward to spending time in those communities, connecting with the region’s local Iwi, Māori, Māori All Blacks fans and putting out a performance our whānau and fans can be proud of.”

Ireland meet the regular All Blacks in Auckland (July 2), Dunedin (July 9) and Wellington (July 16).

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