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Springboks trying to reorganize NZ Maori match

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South Africa changed its rules on Thursday to resurrect the chance to host the New Zealand Maori rugby team.


The original proposed match in June in Soweto was blocked by racism laws.

 

A government ruling prevents the Springboks from playing racially selected teams.

But the presidents council of the South African Rugby Union instructed its staff on Thursday to try and organize a match between a South African XV and the Maori as a warmup for the Springboks’ series against the British and Irish Lions.


The council accepted a recommendation from the management committee that SARU can accept matches against any team sanctioned by the national governing body of that team.


SARU acting managing director Andy Marinos was asked to find a way to fund the cost of hosting the Maori for a match without a date or venue yet.


SARU and the New Zealand RU had been working together on the original proposal until they stumbled on the racial law last month. The NZRU even had the support of the country’s race relations commissioner Joris de Bres.


The Maori, comprising of players of indigenous heritage, has been New Zealand’s international second-string team in recent seasons. In terms of competition, the Maori have often been of a higher standard than many other countries’ full test teams.


The Maori beat the British and Irish Lions in 2005, beat Canada 59-23 in 2007, and last year beat Japan, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Australia A to win the Pacific Nations Cup.


The Maori were once prevented by South Africa’s apartheid laws from joining All Blacks tours to the republic.


They last toured South Africa in 1994 without meeting the Springboks.


Sapa-AP Rugbyweek.com

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