Springboks dump New Zealand Maori clash

Click to follow

A proposed rugby match in June between South Africa and the New Zealand Maori rugby team has been cancelled, the South African Rugby Union (Saru) website said.

Saru acting managing director Andy Marinos said plans for the match had been shelved.

"Unfortunately we were unable to identify a commercial partner within the time constraints to make the match commercially viable," he said.

"We would have been delighted to host the Maori but our best efforts to put together a venue and sponsor to cover the costs did not bear fruit."

The match was to have been part of a warmup for the Springboks' series against the British and Irish Lions.

The original proposed match in Soweto had been blocked earlier by racism laws as a government ruling prevents the Springboks from playing racially selected teams.

But last month the president's council of Saru accepted a recommendation from the management committee that Saru can accept matches against any team sanctioned by the national governing body of that team.

The Maori, comprising players of indigenous heritage, have 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.

Maori players 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.

This strory was sourced from the New Zealand Herald.