Maori All Blacks to play Canada in Vancouver

Getty Images     11 Aug 2017     Getty Images

The match was announced at a special function in Vancouver early this morning.
New Zealand Rugby’s Maori Rugby Board Chair and former Black Ferns captain Dr Farah Palmer welcomed the announcement.

"Having played in Toronto in 2013 and Calgary in 2003, we are excited to be returning to Canada with the Maori All Blacks, in what will be our first visit to Vancouver. This match is a great addition to the Maori All Blacks programme in 2017 – providing a wonderful opportunity to bring our special style of rugby, and Maori culture, to this amazing part of the world.

“New Zealanders can be proud of the mark this special team leaves when they visit another country – they represent the very best of New Zealand and rugby. Rugby in Canada is growing and it’s exciting to be able to show exactly why we love it so much back here,” she said.

Dr Palmer said that the team’s third fixture for the year (having played the British and Irish Lions this year) would be announced in the coming weeks.

Rugby Canada CEO Allen Vansen said: “We are thrilled to be bringing back fifteens rugby to BC Place Stadium, where we’ve held three successful events in recent history and are set to host another HSBC Canada Sevens series in March. The Maori All Blacks are one of the most iconic and recognizable franchises in the world and we can’t wait to play them in front of some of Canada’s most passionate rugby fans. This event wouldn’t be possible without the support of our title sponsor, AIG, the provincial and municipal governments, our Union partners, the Musqueam First Nations and Sport Hosting Vancouver, who came together to bring this event to the west coast.”

Lynn Oldfield, Resident President/Commercial, AIG Canada said: “We are looking forward to presenting another historic match when the Maori All Blacks return to Canadian soil. Our last experience in Toronto in 2013 was quite special, and the growth of the rugby world in Canada since then will undoubtedly create an electric atmosphere for fans at BC Place.”

The match in Vancouver will be the first of a two-match end of year programme for the Maori All Blacks. The second fixture, to be played in Europe, will be announced in due course.

Canada will be securing its top professionals for the match in order to field the strongest team possible at BC Place. Having recently lost to the USA in a home-and-home series for the North America 1 seed at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, Canada will use the 3 November fixture to prepare for the next chance to qualify for the third largest sporting event in the world in January and February in a two-game series against Uruguay.