NZ Maori set for tour of Japan, Singapore
The New Zealand Maori team will play two matches in Japan later this year and will also take on the Tana Umaga-coached Asia Pacific Dragons in Singapore.
New Zealand Rugby today announced the Maori team would square off against Japan on November 1 at Noevir Stadium in Kobe and on November 8 at Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground in Tokyo.
The team will then travel to Singapore to take on the Dragons, an invitational side drawn from top Asian and Polynesian players.
"We are also very pleased to go to a country where the profile of rugby is growing and where Rugby World Cup 2019 will be held," New Zealand Maori Rugby Board chairman Wayne Peters said.
"Japanese love to see our men in black jerseys so we hope this tour will be a great drawcard for fans there."
New Zealand Maori head coach Colin Cooper is pleased with the matches pencilled in for his side.
"The Maori All Blacks are a critical part of our high performance programme and this tour, like the successful tour to North America last year, provides an excellent opportunity for players to press for higher honours," he said.
"Japan has recently qualified for their eighth straight Rugby World Cup and beat Italy to record their 10th straight win so they will provide top opposition as the team builds for next year's tournament so we are really looking forward to the challenge."
The New Zealand Maori team will play the Asia Pacific Dragons at Singapore's new National Stadium on November 15.
New Zealand Maori Asian tour:
1 November v Japan, Noevir Stadium, Kobe
8 November v Japan, Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground, Tokyo
15 November v Asia Pacific Dragons, National Stadium, Singapore