Maori fixture scrapped?

The Springboks may not be able to play the New Zealand Maori in Soweto as the Kiwi team is selected on racial lines.

According to the Rapport, the Springboks would play the Maori as a warm-up for the British & Irish Lions series. Bok coach Peter de Villiers gave it his backing.

“It will help me a great deal for my preparation,” he said. “We can’t take on the Lions without warm-up games.”

The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) proposed the fixture but Saru said in a statement the main obstacle would be the “long-established President’s Council resolution forbidding the appearance of Saru teams against opponents selected along racial lines”.

The Maori are an invitation side that usually play against touring teams to the country, and although the team is selected on racial lines, it is not discriminatory as Maori can also represent the All Blacks.

The Maori were controversially scrapped from the 2009 season due to the NZRU’s decision to let the Junior All Blacks take part in the IRB Pacific Nations Cup. They have previously fared well in the Churchill Cup as an invitational team alongside England A, Scotland A, Canada and the United States.

There has also been talk of a privately funded trip to the UK for the Maori side.

But their plans of playing against the Boks seem to have been thwarted by the Saru ruling.

A final decision is expected in late March, with the judgment based on “the financial viability of the project, logistics around venues and player availability and the fundamental stumbling block of a long-established President’s Council resolution forbidding the appearance of SARU teams against opponents selected along racial lines”.