Ireland vs Maori All Blacks LIVE rugby: Latest updates from tour opener as Maoris crusing to win

Ireland begin their summer tour of New Zealand with a game against the Maori All Blacks in Hamilton on Wednesday morning.

Two of the three favourites for next year’s Rugby World Cup, along with hosts France, the three-match series between Ireland and the All Blacks will be a fascinating watch but before the first Test in Auckland on Saturday, the Irish have a warm-up against the Maoris.

A proud representative side, who reflect the country’s heritage and have a long, storied rugby history, the hosts will provide a real challenge for an experimental-looking Ireland side – who are captained by New Zealand-born Bundee Aki.

The Ireland XV contains five uncapped players and the match will be played at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton, where Aki won a Super Rugby title with former club the Chiefs before joining Connacht in 2014, while coach Andy Farrell has stressed the importance of the contest: “It’s huge. It’s everything to these players that are taking the field, it is the biggest game of their lives. I know there is a three-game series coming up but these two Maori games for us and what we’re trying to build and how we’re trying to put people under pressure and see how they come through, that is just as important.”

Follow all the action from Hamilton with our live blog below:

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