The Maori All Blacks, one of the most famous teams in international rugby, is coming to Vancouver to play Canada in an exhibition match.
"We feel like it's a coup for Rugby Canada and for the B.C., Vancouver and rugby communities," said Gareth Rees of Rugby Canada.
The team, which is separate from New Zealand's senior All Blacks team, is not only known for its impeccable playing style but for the iconic "Haka" war cry the team performs at the start of the game — and is set to perform in Canada.
The "Haka" is a traditional war dance of the Indigenous Maori people of New Zealand. It was first performed on an 1888 tour and the team's Indigenous connections are deep and historic.
Originally, the team was called the New Zealand Natives, then the New Zealand Maori and was one of the country's first rugby teams. They were conceived as an all-Maori team and even today, according to the team website, all players must have Maori genealogy confirmed in order to represent the side.
The team name was changed to the Maori All Blacks in 2012, referring to the team's traditional black uniforms.
In a news release, Maori Rugby board chair and former Black Ferns captain Dr. Farah Palmer called the match "a wonderful opportunity to bring our special style of rugby and Maori culture to this amazing part of the world."
Organizers say the game against Canada will mark only the second time ever a senior men's fifteens match has been held in BC Place. Vancouver has hosted the popular Rugby Sevens tournament for the past two years.
The game will take place on Nov. 3 at BC Place. Tickets start at $20 and go on sale on Friday, Aug. 11 at 10 a.m. PT.