20 August 2008 - New Zealand's All Gold rugby league team is set to play its first game in New Zealand for 100 years.
On Sunday 12 October the All Golds will face New Zealand Maori at New Plymouth's Yarrow Stadium, in a preparation match for the Kiwi team members before they head to Sydney for the Rugby League World Cup at the end of October.
It will also be a preparation game for New Zealand Maori, who will play the Australian Indigenous Team in the cup's curtain-raiser match - the first time the indigenous team has included stars from the NRL.
The Yarrow Stadium game will also be a farewell to Ruben Wiki from New Zealand Rugby League.
Says All Golds coach Stephen Kearney: "This match will give the boys a superb hit-out in the lead-up to the world cup and help get them match-ready before they take on the best that other countries have to offer.
"It's also great news for fans outside the main centres - and the teams are really looking forward to coming to Taranaki and showing their fans a great game."
The All Golds will feature Kiwi players who aren't involved in the NRL grand final, giving them a good build-up to the world cup.
Meanwhile New Zealand Maori will comprise players who are on the fringes of selection for the Kiwis or who have international experience.
"It will be an unmissable chance for league fans to see our biggest names playing against each other," says New Zealand Maori Rugby League Chairman Howie Tamati.
"I'm picking there'll be a huge crowd at Yarrow Stadium for this one, and it's because of the backing of Venture Taranaki and the enthusiasm of New Plymouth District Council that we've got the game here."
Mayor Peter Tennent expects the local support will be massive.
"We're a passionate lot in Taranaki and we get behind big events like this boots and all," he says. More "Tickets to the September All Blacks-Manu Samoa game sold very quickly and I'll bet my Warriors jersey that we get a massive crowd again for this league match, and send our team off in style to the Rugby League World Cup."
Tickets will go on sale through TicketDirect on Monday 1 September.
The All Golds' origins are in All Black rugby. During a 1905 tour of Britain, All Black George Smith discovered a new code called rugby league, and he and Albert Baskerville organised a 1907 tour of Britain and Australia by a New Zealand rugby league team.
This team contained a number of the 1905 All Blacks and was dubbed the All Golds. Thirty-four matches were played against Britain and Australia, with the All Golds coming away with 19 wins, 12 losses and three draws.
The last game the All Golds played in New Zealand was an exhibition match in June 1908, when two teams were drawn from the touring side. They played before a crowd of nearly 7,000 in Wellington.
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