The fixture is a curtain-raiser to a Test between New Zealand and Samoa and England coach Steve McNamara feels the match will be invaluable as his squad gears up for full internationals against New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea.
“This game is going to play an important part of our preparations and we’re all really looking forward to playing the New Zealand Maori,” said McNamara.
“We’ve made slow starts in our last two international tournaments, the 2008 Rugby League World Cup and the Gillette Four Nations last year, and this match gives us the opportunity to ensure we hit the ground running.
The match against England will be the Maori’s first international since the New Zealand Rugby League centenary season in 2008 and NZ Maori Chairman Howie Tamati expects to include a strong line up to face England in Auckland:
“The NZ Maori Rugby League is excited by the opportunity for the Maori team to take the field against England,” said Tamati.
“We will be working closely with the NZ selectors to ensure that the best possible players are selected to play for the NZ Maori team in what promises to be a competitive game against England.”
For many years, the Maori have competed in the Pacific Cup and two years ago played an Australian Indigenous side ahead of the official opening ceremony of the 2008 Rugby League World Cup match in Sydney.
England will also play a warm-up game against Cumbria at The Recreation Ground, Whitehaven, on Sunday October 3, the proceeds from which will go to the family of Garry Purdham, who was killed by gunman Derek Bird in June.
England will fly to Auckland on Friday 8 October to prepare for the Four Nations.
2010 Gillette Four Nations fixtures:
Saturday 13 November – Four Nations Final (Brisbane, 9am)