- Bedford Blues' Mike Rayer to take charge of RFU Championship XV
- Castle Park will host the Maori All Blacks on November 17
Photo: RFU Archive
Bedford Blues Director of Rugby Mike Rayer has been named as the Championship coach who will help pick and train the team to face the Maori All Blacks when they face off at Doncaster’s Castle Park on Saturday, November 17.
The Maoris visit the UK to play three friendlies against Leicester Tigers (Nov 13 at Welford Road), Canada (Nov 23 at Oxford University) and the RFU Championship Select XV which will be made up of English Qualified Players who perform week-in week-out in the second tier of English rugby.
Speaking about his appointment Rayer, who is embarking on his eighth campaign with the Blues, said: “I am incredibly proud and honoured to have been selected by the RFU to head the team of coaches who will prepare the Championship XV as we welcome the Maori All Blacks to Castle Park. It is the first time that such a team will have been put together and I’m thoroughly looking forward to the task ahead.
“We’ve all seen just how tough a match against the Maori All Blacks can be when teams tour New Zealand, so it will be really interesting to see how they fare against the lads in the Championship. The likes of Zinzan Brooke, Bruce Reihana and Carlos Spencer are just a few of the names to have graced the Maori All Black team sheet, so I’m sure that we will have a challenging match.
“I’m very lucky to have Liam Middleton from Bristol and Diccon Edwards from Leeds Carnegie supporting me and both have extensive knowledge of the international scene from their time with Zimbabwe Sevens and England Under 20s respectively.
“Hopefully we will be able to bring together all of our coaching knowledge and select a squad who will be able to show to everyone just how much talent there is in the Championship.”
Maori All Blacks UK Tour
v Leicester Tigers, Tuesday November 13, Welford Road. KO 1930
v RFU Championship XV, Saturday November 17, Castle Park. KO 1205
v Canada, Friday November 23, Oxford University Sports Centre. KO 1930