Springboks keen to play NZ Maori in Soweto
By Duncan Johnston - RugbyHeaven.co.nzThe New Zealand Maori team could be about to get a lifeline from South Africa with Springboks coach Peter de Villiers keen to play them in Soweto as a warm-up match for the test series against the British & Irish Lions.
The Maori side were controversially omitted from the 2009 season when the New Zealand Rugby Union decided to replace them in the IRB Pacific Nations Cup with the Junior All Blacks.
That caused an outcry and left the Maori side contemplating their future.
But it appears that if the funds can be found in these difficult times - and approval granted by the NZRU of course - the New Zealand Maori side could be winging their way to South Africa in June.
The South African union have already confirmed a warm-up test against Namibia but the Boks clearly want some better opposition before they take on the Lions in a three-test series.
She Springboks against New Zealand Maori in Soweto has a nice fit and would be sure to sell out.
"We are playing them (Namibia) on May 29," de Villiers told the Rapport newspaper in South Africa.
"The game in Soweto is, however, subject to certain conditions and has not been finalised, but I hope it will happen.
"It will help me a great deal for my preparation. We can't take on the Lions without warm-up games."
The Maori side are a great drawcard anywhere they play and put in a strong performance last year to claim the Pacific Nations Cup.
Prior to that they had been involved in the Churchill Cup as an invitational team alongside England A, Scotland A, Canada and the United States.
There has also been talk of a privately funded trip to the UK for the Maori side.