South African rugby has reversed its policy of refusing to play against the New Zealand Maori, paving the way for future match-ups between the two sides.
Last year a warm-up game for the Springboks ahead of the British and Irish Lions tour against the Maori, who have a traditional place in New Zealand rugby, was called off by the South African Rugby Union on racial grounds. SARU deemed the Maori a team selected along racial lines, which conflicts with the South African constitution.
Earlier this year, though, they issued a landmark apology to those excluded from South African tours during apartheid - New Zealand rugby authorities left indigenous Maori players out of three tours to the country in 1928, 1949 and 1960. With the Maori having recently celebrated the centenary of its first representative team, SARU has decided the time was right to change the Springbok approach.
"The (General) Council agreed to adopt the policy pertaining to the New Zealand Maori, which now paves the way for matches between South African teams and the Maoris," a statement from SARU read.
Union president Oregan Hoskins added: "South Africa will play against any team which has the official blessing of its national governing body."