Maori All Blacks named for Canada

James Mortimer     03 Nov 2013    

The team features five players in the starting XV making their debut with another six new caps in the reserves.

The side will be captained by Wellington and Hurricanes back Tim Bateman. The match kicks off at 1pm ET (7am Monday 4 Nov NZT) and is broadcast live on SKY.

Starting XV:

1. Kane Hames*
Ngai Tuhoe/Ngati Porou
Bay of Plenty

2. Hikawera Elliot
Ngati Awa
Counties Manukau

3. Ben Afeaki
Ngati Awa
North Harbour

4. Jarrad Hoeata
Ngati Kahungunu / Ngai Tuhoe

5. Joe Wheeler*
Ngai Tahu

6. Liam Squire*
Ngai Tahu

7. Luke Braid*
Ngati Tumutumu

8. Elliot Dixon

9. Piri Weepu
Te Whakatohea / Ngai Tahu

10. Tim Bateman
Ngai Tahu

11. Zac Guildford*
Ngati Kahunganu/Ngai Tahu
Hawke's Bay

12. Jackson Willison
Ngati Mahuta

13. Charlie Ngatai
Ngati Porou/Te Whanau-a-Apanui

14. Andre Taylor
Ngati Tuwharetoa/Ngati Kahungunu

15. Robbie Robinson
Ngati Tuwharetoa/ Ngati Tahinga


16. Chris Eves*

17. Nick Barrett*
Ngati Kahungunu

18. Ash Dixon*
Ngati Tahinga
Hawke's Bay

19. Blade Thomson*

20. Shane Christie
Te Atihaunui A Paparangi

21. Jamison Gibson-Park
Ngati Porou/Ngai Tai

22. Ihaia West*
Ngati Kahungunu /Ngati Porou
Hawke's Bay

23. Matt Proctor*
Ngai te Rangi/Ngapuhi

*new cap

Coach Colin Cooper said he was pleased with the balance in the side which was based on ITM Cup and Investec Super Rugby form and how quickly players had coped with the short assembly and long flight to Toronto.

“It was a long haul over here and everyone is getting over the travel factor and we are putting things together. Those boys are the in-form players at the moment so they get the first opportunity. There’s been plenty of competition for places and that’s what makes this group exciting, anyone can replace anyone.”

The five players making their debut in the starting XV are Kane Hames, Joe Wheeler, Liam Squire, Luke Braid and Zac Guildford. Bay of Plenty prop Hames has had a stellar season, earning selection for the Maori All Blacks in his first year in the ITM Cup as well as an Investec Super Rugby contract with the Highlanders.

“He has had a fantastic year and he got an opportunity through injuries in the Bay and with the coaching of Kevin Schuler he has come through and really pushed his name forward. He is hard working, of great character and has gelled with the group very quickly.”

The Maori All Blacks defeated Canada 32-19 on last year’s tour to the UK. Canada come to the match ranked 14th in the world and are coached by former Taranaki coach Kieran Crowley.

Sunday’s game is a sell-out with 22,000 fans expected to pack out BMO Field making it the largest ever rugby crowd in Canada. Conditions for the early afternoon game are forecast to be a chilly six degrees.

“It’s going to be tough in their backyard. There’s an Argentinean referee so interpretations may be different to what we are used to at home so it will be a difficult Test. Conditions will be cold and possibly wet so they may not suit our Maori brand of rugby, but we will certainly make sure we play a winning game plan.

“First and foremost we have to win, we are accountable to our past and to the rugby public at home.”