S.A vs NZ Maori team - Your thoughts?

Red-tape threatens to stand in the way of the New Zealand Maori side making an historic tour of South Africa. Springbok coach Peter de Villiers said earlier this week he wanted his side to face the Maori team in the lead-up to this year's tour of South Africa by the British Lions. The match had been... show more Red-tape threatens to stand in the way of the New Zealand Maori side making an historic tour of South Africa.

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers said earlier this week he wanted his side to face the Maori team in the lead-up to this year's tour of South Africa by the British Lions.

The match had been pencilled in for Soweto.

However, SA Rugby has issued a statement saying that while discussions had begun over the possible New Zealand Maori/Springbok clash, significant work behind the scenes still had to be done.

That included working around a political stand to not allow the Boks to play against racially-selected teams.

Ironically, race is one of the selection criteria for the World Cup-winning Boks, with an accepted number of non-white players having to be named in each squad.

"SA Rugby would like to advise media on the background to speculation that a match is being arranged against the New Zealand Maori," the statement read.

"We can confirm that the New Zealand Rugby Union has inquired if there was an opportunity for the Maori team to appear in South Africa.

"SA Rugby is examining the possibility but no decision has been taken on whether the offer will be accepted and there are several obstacles to overcome should we wish to pursue the offer.

"They include 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.

"A final decision is not expected until the end of March."

The match would give New Zealand Maori a reprieve for this season.

The side looked set to be sidelined for 2009 after the NZRU cut them from its calendar as part of its cost-cutting moves.

de Villiers then revealed that the South African Rugby Union was in negotiations to bring the Maori side to South Africa to play the Springboks in June.

The match would be the Boks' final warm-up match before the three-test series against the touring British Lions begins on June 20.

SARU has already confirmed a warm-up match against Namibia.

"We are playing them (Namibia) on May 29," de Villiers told Rapport.

"The game in Soweto is, however, subject to certain conditions and has not been finalised, but I hope it will happen.

"It will help me a great deal for my preparation. We can't take on the Lions without warm-up games."

New Zealand Maori won last year's Pacific Nations Cup.

They had previously taken part in the Churchill Cup, normally played in North America.
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