Team returns to Fiji for first time since 2008
(SUVA) – 12 May 2015 – The Maori All Blacks will play Fiji for the first time in seven years as part of a two match series in July, New Zealand Rugby confirmed today.
The team will play Fiji at the ANZ Stadium in Suva at 3.00pm on Saturday, 11 July and returns to New Zealand to take on the Barbarians at Eden Park, Auckland on Saturday, 18 July.
The Maori All Blacks last played Fiji in the Pacific Nations Cup in 2008, winning 11-7 in Lautoka.
The two sides first met in 1938 in Suva and have played each other 28 times since. The Maori All Blacks have won 19 matches, lost seven and drawn twice.
The Maori All Blacks last played the New Zealand Barbarians in 2010 as part of the centenary series winning 37-31.
“It’s great news that the Maori All Blacks will again be taking on international opposition in 2015,” said New Zealand Maori Rugby Board Chairman Wayne Peters.
“We’re very excited to be returning to Fiji where we’ve enjoyed a wonderful rivalry over 77 years. This match will be a great celebration of the proud rugby history we share and again underlines the strong ties between Pacific rugby and New Zealand rugby.”
The Maori All Blacks play Fiji three days after the historic Test in Apia between the All Blacks and Manu Samoa.
“This match is guaranteed entertainment for Fiji, come July, and we are delighted to once again host the Maori All Blacks,” said Fiji Rugby’s Chief Executive Radrodro Tabualevu.
“The side will be filled with Super 15s Rugby players so they will be a very good team.”
The Maori All Blacks last played in Suva in 1996.
“This game will have a lot of history behind it as the Maori All Blacks were the first rugby team to play at the then, newly renovated National Stadium just before the 1979 South Pacific Games. That team was captained by famous All Black prop Billy Bush,” said Tabualevu.
Maori All Blacks Coach Colin Cooper said he was looking forward to assembling the team again.
“Fiji will be tough opponents and will be looking to turn in a top performance as part of their preparations for the Pacific Nations Cup and Rugby World Cup later in the year. This’ll be a real challenge for the boys and we’ll need to be on top of our game.
“The Maori All Blacks are a key part of New Zealand Rugby’s high performance programme,” he said. “This tour provides an important opportunity for many players to further develop their skills and prove themselves at the international level.”
Ticket pre-sales will begin online at 12noon tomorrow from TicketDirect www.ticketdirect.com.fj
The pre-sales password will be available from Fiji Rugby’s FaceBook page, along with those signed up to TicketDirect’s email subscribers list and FaceBook page.
“We are thrilled to be working with our partners at Fiji Rugby and the NZRU to sell tickets to this match. It is a unique opportunity and a first for Fiji with a focus on online sales and social media with some fantastic special offers for the great rugby fans of Fiji.” said Matthew Davey, CEO of TicketDirect.
Ticket sales to the public will commence at noon on Friday 15th of May from the Fiji Sports Council at ANZ Stadium, Suva.