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Ireland to play Māori All Blacks twice on summer tour to New Zealand

The IRFU have finalised Ireland’s full schedule ahead of their summer tour.

Ireland will play the Maori All Blacks twice on their summer tour to New Zealand.
Ireland will play the Maori All Blacks twice on their summer tour to New Zealand.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

THE IRFU HAVE confirmed that Andy Farrell’s Ireland squad will play two midweek fixtures against the Māori All Blacks during their upcoming summer tour to New Zealand.

Ireland are set to play three Test games against the All Blacks in July, with Farrell expected to bring an extended squad on tour.

And the IRFU have now confirmed that the tour will kick-off with a meeting with the Māori All Blacks on Wednesday, 29 June, ahead of the opening Test match of the series in Auckland.

The second fixture with the Māori All Blacks will take place on Tuesday, 12 July, between the second and third Test games.

Ireland have played the Māori All Blacks twice previously. In 1888 the New Zealand Natives were 13-4 winners at Lansdowne Road, while in 2010 the Maori All Blacks beat Ireland 31-28 at the Rotorua International Stadium.

“The Māori All Blacks will provide a stern test of our squad strength and depth,” said Farrell. 

“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.”

Māori All Blacks head coach Clayton McMillan added: “We look forward to welcoming Ireland, their players, management, and fans to Aotearoa, sharing our respective cultures, and celebrating our rich histories through rugby.

“Our rivalry goes back more than 100 years and that will only add to the occasion. 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.”

All five games on the tour will be aired on Sky Sports, and kick-off at 8.05am Irish time.

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Ireland summer tour fixtures:

Māori All Blacks v Ireland 
FMG Stadium, Hamilton, Wednesday 29 June

New Zealand v Ireland
Eden Park, Auckland, Saturday 2 July

New Zealand v Ireland
Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, Saturday 9 July

Māori All Blacks v Ireland
SKY Stadium, Wellington, Tuesday 12 July

New Zealand v Ireland
SKY Stadium, Wellington, Saturday 16 July

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Ciarán Kennedy

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