Leicester Tigers have announced they will host the Maori All Blacks at Welford Road, as the Maori Squad heads to the UK for a three-match tour in November.
Former Northampton Saints fly-half Carlos Spencer is among those who have gained Maori recognition. He will be joined by Luke McAlister, Hosea Gear, Piri Weepu and Carl Hayman, while former All Black Kieran Crowley as Head Coach.
– Richard Cockerill, Tigers director of rugby
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."
The tourists, once known as New Zealand Maori, have enjoyed victories over England and Ireland in the Centenary Series two years ago.
The tour is part of a wider programme of November fixtures for Tier 2 supported by the International Rugby Board (IRB) to ensure those nations have access to an annual high-level schedule within the Rugby World Cup cycle.
– Bernard Lapasset, International Rugby Board chairman
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."
The Maori All Blacks take on Leicester Tigers on November 13, before meeting the Championship side, made up entirely of English qualified players, in Doncaster on November 17. The squad faces Canada at Oxford University on November 23.