The Māori All Blacks squad to tour to Chicago, London and Ireland next month has been named.
The squad was announced by New Zealand Rugby Māori Board acting chairman Peter Goldsmith, in Wellington today.
The 2016 Māori All Blacks squad is (with * to denote new cap):
|Leni Apisai *||Wellington||Ngāti Awa|
|Tim Bateman||Canterbury||Ngāi Tahu|
|Otere Black||Manawatu||Ngāi Tuhoe / Te Whānau ā Apanui / Ngāti Tūwharetoa|
|Shane Christie||Tasman||Te Ati Haunui ā Pāpārangi / Ngāti Kurawhatia|
|Ash Dixon, Captain||Hawkes Bay||Ngāti Tahinga|
|Whetu Douglas *||Waikato||Ngāti Porou / Ngāti Whakaue|
|Jason Emery||Manawatu||Ngāti Haua / Ngāti Maniapoto|
|Chris Eves||Manawatu||Waikato / Tainui|
|Tom Franklin||Otago||Ngāti Maniapoto|
|Billy Guyton *||Tasman||Ngāpuhi / Ngāti Pikiao / Ngāti Raukawa|
|Kane Hames||Tasman||Ngāi Tuhoe / Ngāti Porou|
|Akira Ioane||Auckland||Ngāpuhi / Te Whānau ā Apanui|
|Mike Kainga||Taranaki||Ngāti Kahungunu|
|James Lowe||Tasman||Ngāpuhi / Ngāi Te Rangi|
|Ben May||Hawkes Bay||Ngāti Maniapoto|
|Marty McKenzie||Taranaki||Ngāti Tūwharetoa / Ngāti Tahinga|
|Leighton Price *||Taranaki||Waikato / Ngāti Maniapoto|
|Reed Prinsep *||Canterbury||Te Rārawa|
|Matt Proctor||Wellington||Ngāi Te Rangi / Ngāpuhi|
|Kara Pryor *||Northland||Ngāti Awa / Ngāti Pikiao / Ngāti Rangitihi|
|Marcel Renata||Auckland||Ngāti Whānaunga / Te Aupouri|
|Joe Royal||Bay of Plenty||Te Arawa / Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei / Ngāpuhi|
|Sean Wainui||Taranaki||Ngāi Tuhoe / Te Āitanga a Māhaki / Ngā Arikikaiputahi / Ngāti Porou|
|Brad Weber||Hawkes Bay||Ngāti Porou|
|Ihaia West||Hawkes Bay||Ngāti Kahungunu / Ngāti Porou|
One more name is to be added.
Six new caps have been named in the side including this year’s New Zealand Under 20 captain, Wellington’s Leni Apisai.
Māori All Blacks Head Coach Colin Cooper (Ngāti Pūkenga/Ngāti Porou) congratulated all those selected.
“This is an exciting time for all those involved in this special team.
“We’re delighted with the squad we have announced today – we think there’s an incredible mix of experience and very wise heads, and a special crop of new talent that has been exciting to watch in action in Super Rugby and Mitre 10 Cup.
“This team continues to be an important opportunity for players looking to push for higher honours.
“We are particularly delighted for Rieko Ioane who was named for the first time with the All Blacks on Sunday – and he joins several Māori All Blacks who have earned a call up to the All Blacks in recent years – Nehe Milner Skudder, Codie Taylor, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Joe Moody, Brad Weber, Elliot Dixon, Liam Squire, Damian McKenzie and last year’s skipper Charlie Ngatai currently unavailable due to concussion.”
Ash Dixon will take over from Charlie Ngatai in the captain’s role.
“We continue to work closely with the All Blacks coaches to ensure that we are aligned and these selections demonstrate the strength of the Māori All Blacks as a high performance team.”
“It’s also good that both teams are in Chicago and the United Kingdom at the same time, so that we can retain that alignment,” Cooper said.
“We are looking forward to heading to Chicago to play the USA Eagles. Playing any national side is an honour, and they’re a team that’s really cementing their place in international rugby.”
“Our matches against Munster and Harlequins will also be very special as we love taking the Māori All Blacks’ style of rugby to other countries.”
Five players still involved in Mitre 10 Cup Finals will join the squad in Auckland after their matches this weekend.
The squad flies out on Sunday night.
Māori All Blacks 2016 Match schedule
Friday 4 November v USA Eagles, Toyota Park, Chicago
Friday 11 November v Munster, Thomond Park, Limerick
Wednesday 16 November v Harlequins, Twickenham Stoop, London
Māori All Blacks pre-departure schedule
Wednesday: The Maori All Blacks assemble (except those involved in Mitre 10 Cup Finals matches) in Auckland, tomorrow, Wednesday 27 October.
Saturday: 1:30pm – Clarity run – vision and media opportunity, Blues rugby base
Sunday: 12.00pm – Vision opportunity at team photo session
11:10pm – Team flies out of Auckland Airport – NZ2
Coaching and management team
|Head Coach||Colin Cooper||Ngāti Pūkenga / Ngāti Porou|
|Asst Coach||Tana Umaga|
|Set Piece Coach||Carl Hoeft|
|Kaumatua||Luke Crawford||Ngāti Tūwharetoa / Ngāti Porou|
|Strengthen and Conditioning Coach||Brad Anderson||Ngāpuhi|
|Analyst||Jayson Ross||Ngāti Kahungunu|