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Test On July 11

Test On July 11
From left: Levani Botia, Akapusi Qera and Isireli Bobo at Bordeaux, France. Photo: Taina Bobo
May 13
07:50 2015

The Vodafone Flying Fijians will play the Maori All Blacks on July 11 at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.

This was confirmed by the New Zealand Rugby Union yesterday.

Flying Fijians coach John McKee said the test would be timely, especially with the Pacific Nations Cup (PNC) and 2015 Rugby World Cup in England coming up.

“This is a great opportunity for us leading in to the PNC which starts on July 18 and also in our preparation for the RWC in September,” McKee said.

“Given the history of the two teams, it will be a pretty intense game for both teams and is one fixture that will be much awaited for by fans in Fiji and New Zealand.

“Because of the tradition of the game, there will be massive interest and this just adds to our preparation.

“Players in their respective clubs overseas will be making their way down in June when their season finishes, so it will be a match to keep an eye out for.”

The Maori All Blacks last played in Fiji in the PNC in 2008 where they won 11-7 in Lautoka. They last played in Suva in 1996.

The two teams first met in 1938 in Suva

and have since played each other 28 times with the Maori All Blacks winning 19 matches, losing seven and drawing twice.

Speaking on the All Blacks official site, Maori All Blacks coach Colin Cooper said with Fiji preparing for PNC and the World Cup, he will be expecting a tough Fijian side.

“Fiji will be tough and will be looking to turn in a top performance as part of their preparations for the PNCand RWC later in the year,” he said.

“This will 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. This tour provides an important opportunity for many players to further develop their skills and prove themselves at the international level.”

Meanwhile, Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer Radrodro Tabualevu said the game will be a real treat for rugby fans in both Fiji and New Zealand.

“This match is guaranteed entertainment for Fiji, come July, and we are delighted to host the Maori All Blacks,” Tabualevu said.

“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.”

Feedback:  justine.mannan@fijisun.com.fj

 

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