The Maori All Blacks will play against Canada and the United States in a two-match Aotearoa Fisheries North American tour announced by New Zealand Rugby and AIG today.
The Maori All Blacks take on Canada in Toronto on 3 November and the USA Eagles in Philadelphia on 9 November.
New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said the matches represented an exciting opportunity to take a special New Zealand team to North America.
“The Maori All Blacks have a unique history in rugby combined with a rich cultural identity.
“We are incredibly fortunate that in addition to our special relationship with principal partner adidas, AIG’s arrival as a major global sponsor of our national teams has allowed us to achieve a programme of this calibre.
“This is an exciting new step for us and we thank AIG for the specific investment in the Maori All Blacks to support an annual international programme for the next five years.
“We had a wonderful taste of the style of rugby played by both Canada and USA when they played here in Rugby World Cup 2011. New Zealanders got behind both teams during that tournament, which really added to the experience of players.
“The Aoteaora Fisheries Maori All Blacks Tour reinforces a great relationship with both Unions, and recognises the growth of rugby in both countries,” he said.
Chief Executive Officer AIG Property & Casualty Peter Hancock said the Maori All Blacks represented a special team.
“We are thrilled to help bring the Maori All Blacks to the United States and Canada. As proud partners of New Zealand Rugby and USA Rugby, we are always looking for opportunities to help bring rugby to more people, and more places, around the world.
“The Maori All Blacks represent a unique and important part of Rugby and New Zealand Rugby’s storied histories, and we are delighted to be able to share it with rugby fans and enthusiasts,” he said.
Rugby Canada’s General Manager, Rugby Operations and Performance, Mike Chu said:
“Playing the Maori All Blacks is a great opportunity for our team to play a quality international team in front of our home crowd. The Maori All Blacks are one of the most respected teams in the world and play a great brand of rugby, and I know our players are really excited about this game.
“Canada played them last year and pushed them very close, so we are looking forward to having another crack. This game also provides an excellent build-up to Canada’s Fall Tour to Europe where we will play an additional three international matches.”
USA Rugby’s President and CEO, Nigel Melville said:
“It is our great pleasure to announce that the Maori All Blacks will be touring North America in November and playing an international fixture against the USA Eagles.
“The Maori All Blacks have a proud rugby tradition that makes them one of the most iconic rugby brands in the world of rugby. It is our goal to increase the quality of opponents for the Eagles and to expose our domestic fans to world-class international rugby events.”
News Source: allblacks.com