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Maori All Blacks to play at Welford Road

The Maori All Blacks will open a three-match UK tour with a fixture against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road on Tuesday, November 13.

Tigers have hosted fixtures against Australia, Argentina and South Africa in recent seasons, and will now welcome the Maori squad to Welford Road.

Formerly known as New Zealand Maori, the tourists have competed in the Churchill Cup and Pacific Nations Cup in recent years and also enjoyed victories over England and Ireland in the Centenary Series two years ago.

Luke McAllister, Carlos Spencer, Hosea Gear, Piri Weepu and Carl Hayman are among the All Blacks stars who have gained Maori recognition.

Tickets for the match at Welford Road are on sale now from the Tigers ticket office. Prices are from £20 adults, £5 juniors.

Season ticket holders’ seats will be held until September 22 before being freed for general sale.

Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: “Welford Road has always attracted big names and top-quality touring opposition, and we’re looking forward to the arrival of the Maori All Blacks squad.

“In the last few years we’ve been lucky enough to welcome South Africa, Australia and Argentina for fixtures against Leicester Tigers and the Maori are very welcome additions to that list.

“Rugby is a huge sport in New Zealand and the Maori squad will bring that enthusiasm for the game and also a great tradition with them.”

As well as the game against Tigers, the tourists will face an RFU Championship XV at Doncaster on November 17 and Canada at Oxford University on November 23.

New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive officer Steve Tew said: “The Maori All Blacks have been an important part of New Zealand’s rugby history and this UK tour reflects a NZRU commitment to a meaningful programme for the Maori All Blacks.”

The tour is part of a wider programme of November fixtures for Tier 2 supported by the International Rugby Board to ensure those nations have access to an annual high-level schedule within the Rugby World Cup cycle. The full programme will be announced shortly.

IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "This is an exciting development for the global game. The IRB is committed to facilitating an annual international competition schedule for our Tier 2 Unions and these matches will be key to increased competitiveness on the global stage and at Rugby World Cup. I would like to thank the RFU and the NZRU for their support.

"There will be an unprecedented number of international fixtures across the UK in November, which will give sports fans a taste of what to expect in 2015 when England hosts the world's top 20 nations for Rugby World Cup."

Following the tour announcement, RFU professional rugby director Rob Andrew said: “We are honoured to be hosting the Maori All Blacks in November. The three fixtures will provide a broad spectrum of challenges for the touring side, with both tiers of professional rugby in England represented and an international side in Canada.

“As well as facing Premiership giants Leicester Tigers, who will no doubt have a roaring support at Welford Road, a RFU Championship XV will form to take on the Maori All Blacks in a first for the competition. Reflecting the growth of the second tier, the team will comprise the best of English Qualified Players in the RFU Championship thanks to the commitment and support from all 12 clubs.”

Ticket prices: Leicester Tigers v Maori All Blacks, Tuesday November 13 (7.30pm)

Tickets are on general sale to all supporters now (season ticket holders will have their places held until September 22 before being released).

Book now by phoning the Tigers ticket office on 0844 856 1880 or call in at Welford Road (open 8.30am-5.00pm weekdays, until 8.00pm Wednesdays and 9.00am-5.00pm Saturdays).

Season ticket holders can also book their places online by clicking here.

Season ticket holders
Adult £20
65-plus/Young Adult & Full-Time Student £10
Junior £5
Family £45

All other supporters
Adult £25
65-plus/Young Adult & Full-Time Student £15
Junior £10
Family £60 (2 adults & 2 juniors)