18 Mar 2010

New Zealand Maori to play Ireland and England

6:49 pm on 18 March 2010

The new New Zealand Maori rugby coach Jamie Joseph concedes there's a bit more pressure on him now their centenary year schedule includes internationals against Ireland and England.

The series was announced at Parliament today and starts with a match in Whangarei on June 12th, with an opponent still to be finalized, followed by a match against Ireland in Rotorua and England in Napier.

Joseph says it adds something special to what is already a special year for Maori rugby.

Since the professional era New Zealand Maori sides have beaten England, Argentina, Scotland and Fiji, and the 2005 British and Irish Lions.

Meanwhile the Hurricanes wing, Hosea Gear, who is currently out of action through injury. says he's very much looking forward to playing against a couple of the best teams in the world..

Gear's hoping to be back next week and says the games will be pretty much test matches after several years of playing Pacific sides so they'll be special for Maori and New Zealand rugby.