It’s great to hear that the All Blacks are looking to add an additional fixture to their end of year tour.

NZR chief executive Steve Tew told Sky TV’s The Breakdown rugby show that talks are in progress. Tew said:

“We won’t be playing France midweek in a test match in France, but the coaches are looking for additional matches in a softer environment, if you like.”

We were wondering what criteria the opposition must meet to host the mighty All Blacks? In recent years we have seen a few rare midweek matches come back into the touring calendar. Most recently, the Maori All Blacks played against Munster in Ireland and Harlequins in England. Then, of course, there was that wonderful occasion with the two hakas when the All Blacks played Munster in 2008.

Overseas club teams would be lining up to play the All Blacks, not only is it a chance to take the greatest scalp in world rugby and a crack at making history. It is a chance to cash in too.

These midweek matches are special and bring us back to the days of real tours in the amateur era. We get to see developing players and a little bit of local culture spilling onto the rugby field. Harlequins and Munster are both teams with great history and tradition. They have great stadiums and sell out crowds certainly make these matches financially attractive. In the professional game, any new venture needs to be lucrative to work.

James Lowe runs in a Try for the Maori during Harlequins v Maori All Blacks at Twickenham Stoop , London - 16/12/2016
James Lowe runs in a Try for the Maori during Harlequins v Maori All Blacks at Twickenham Stoop , London – 16/12/2016
© Matthew Impey / Photosport.nz

There is another connection between the All Blacks, the Maori All Blacks, Munster and Harlequins. They are all sponsored by Adidas. We were wondering, is this a coincidence or will the All Blacks happen to find an opponent in France that wears a certain brand?

Any ideas?

Photos: www.photosport.nz

Author: Gareth Dinneen

Gareth is from Limerick, Ireland and has been obsessed with the All Blacks and NZ culture since 1989. He first arrived in NZ in 2001 to tutor in New Media and has since worked with Weta Digital on movies like Avatar, King Kong, The Avengers and most recently Valerian. Gareth grew up listening to his father Len on sports radio. Len is known as ‘The Voice of Rugby’ in Munster, Ireland. The 1014 brings Gareth right back to his sports media roots.

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