Māori ABs up for challenge of test against All Blacks

By Te Ao - Māori News
Credit / Sky Sports

A 102-point victory over an understrength Tonga is unlikely to persuade All Black coach Ian Foster that the ABs should consider playing the Māori All Blacks, who Māori coach Clayton McMillan says would represent a "significant challenge" for the Men in Black.

McMillan, whose Māori team beat Manu Samoa 38-21 in Auckland on Saturday, is open to the idea, saying, “I don’t think you would have trouble selling tickets,” according to a Stuff report.

But the Māori would have to lift their game to a whole other level if that was to happen, "just being straight up," McMillan said.

“We’d have to play a hell of a lot better than we played over the last two weeks to be competitive against the All Blacks,” the Māori coach said referencing the 35-10 win the Māori scored over Samoa the previous weekend in Wellington. 

“But I have no doubt that these guys would present a significant challenge."

However, the All Blacks coach Foster has thrown cold water on the idea.

“Not a big fan of it,” he said earlier this week.

“I think we both represent our country with pride and from a slightly different angle, and that’s a great quality of both teams. So, do I see them pitted against each other? I don’t really think that’s the right thing.”

The All Blacks won 18-8 when they last played the Māori in Rotorua in 1973, almost 50 years ago.

According to Rugby Pass, the two sides played four times prior to that, in 1922, 1929, 1952 and 1958, with the All Blacks winning each of those games.