USA v Māori All Blacks
Toyota Park, Chicago
Friday 4 November, kickoff 7pm (local time)
The Māori All Blacks team to take on USA in the first of an historic double-header rugby feast in Chicago this weekend, has been named.
The Māori All Blacks play the USA Eagles at Toyota Park on Friday night, followed by the All Blacks against Ireland at Soldier Field on Saturday afternoon.
The Māori All Blacks team (with iwi/tribe) is:
|1||Kane Hames||Ngāi Tuhoe / Ngāti Porou|
|2||Ash Dixon (Captain)||Ngāti Tahinga|
|3||Ben May||Ngāti Maniapoto / Tainui|
|5||Tom Franklin||Ngāti Maniapoto|
|7||Kara Pryor *||Ngāti Awa / Ngāti Pikiao / Ngāti Rangitihi|
|8||Akira Ioane||Ngāpuhi / Te Whānau ā Apanui|
|9||Tawera Kerr-Barlow||Waikato / Ngāti Maniapoto|
|10||Ihaia West||Ngāti Kahungunu / Ngāti Porou|
|11||James Lowe||Ngāpuhi / Ngāi Te Rangi|
|12||Tim Bateman||Ngāi Tahu|
|13||Matt Proctor||Ngāpuhi / Ngāiterangi|
|14||Rieko Ioane||Ngāpuhi / Te Whānau ā Apanui|
|15||Damian McKenzie||Ngāti Tūwharetoa / Ngāti Tahinga|
|16||Joe Royal||Te Arawa / Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei / Ngāpuhi|
|17||Chris Eves||Waikato / Tainui|
|18||Marcel Renata *||Ngāti Whānaunga / Te Aupouri|
|19||Leighton Price *||Waikato / Ngāti Maniapoto|
|20||Shane Christie||Te Ati Haunui ā Pāpārangi / Ngāti Kurawhatia|
|21||Brad Weber||Ngāti Porou|
|22||Marty McKenzie||Ngāti Tūwharetoa / Ngāti Tahinga|
|23||Sean Wainui||Ngāi Tuhoe / Te Āitanga a Māhaki/Ngā Arikikaiputahi/Ngāti Porou|
* denotes new Maori All Blacks cap
With a number of All Blacks being made available this week, Head Coach Colin Cooper (Ngāti Pūkenga/Ngāti Porou) has named four All Blacks in his run-on side for Friday night. All four All Blacks – Elliot Dixon, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Rieko Ioane, and Damian McKenzie – played for the Māori All Blacks last year.
Their re-entry into the Māori All Blacks also means a family reunion for brothers Akira and Rieko Ioane, and Marty and Damian McKenzie.
“These guys are all familiar with our environment so we know that they are able to move between the All Blacks and our squad with great ease. The Māori All Blacks is another home for those guys.
“This is the most experienced squad we’ve had for a while, and many of the players who played for us last year have stepped up a level from there. It means that we have a really experienced playing 23, with only three new caps, starting with Kara Pryor who had a very good season with the Blues and then carried that into the Mitre 10 Cup. He was close to being named in the squad last year but was injured so it’s good to be able to give him a start.
“The other two, Marcel Renata and Leighton Price, will come off the bench this Friday; they played well in Mitre 10 Cup and it’s good to be able to give them a chance to earn a cap for this team.
“Ash Dixon takes on the captaincy duties this year but really he’s been part of the set up for a while. He has experience as a leader on the field, and with former captain Tim Bateman back in the mix, I know that the team will have some really solid decision makers on the field,” he said.
The preparation time in Chicago has been good and they were clear about their game plan.
“The main focus will be on playing our game and making sure we give the USA due respect. We’ve have had a look at them and they have a big raw game, a big pack and we will need to play with some structure. We will want to have a good focus on attack and defend with a lot of go forward.”
The match kicks off at 7:00pm Friday night Chicago time (Saturday 1:00pm NZT).