Maori All Blacks squad named for northern tour

Getty Images     25 Oct 2016     Getty Images

The squad was announced by New Zealand Rugby Maori Board acting chairman Peter Goldsmith, in Wellington today. 

The 2016 Maori All Blacks squad is (with * to denote new cap):

Leni Apisai *WellingtonNgati Awa
Tim BatemanCanterburyNgai Tahu
Otere BlackManawatuNgai Tuhoe / Te Whanau a Apanui / Ngati Tuwharetoa
Shane ChristieTasmanTe Ati Haunui a Paparangi / Ngati Kurawhatia
Ash Dixon, CaptainHawkes BayNgati Tahinga
Whetu Douglas *WaikatoNgati Porou / Ngati Whakaue
Jason EmeryManawatuNgati Haua / Ngati Maniapoto
Chris EvesManawatuWaikato / Tainui
Tom FranklinOtagoNgati Maniapoto
Billy Guyton *TasmanNgapuhi / Ngati Pikiao / Ngati Raukawa
Kane Hames TasmanNgai Tuhoe / Ngati Porou
Akira IoaneAucklandNgapuhi / Te Whanau a Apanui
Mike KaingaTaranakiNgati Kahungunu
James LoweTasmanNgapuhi / Ngai Te Rangi
Ben MayHawkes BayNgati Maniapoto
Marty McKenzieTaranakiNgati Tuwharetoa / Ngati Tahinga
Leighton Price *TaranakiWaikato / Ngati Maniapoto
Reed Prinsep *CanterburyTe Rarawa
Matt ProctorWellingtonNgai Te Rangi / Ngapuhi
Kara Pryor *NorthlandNgati Awa / Ngati Pikiao / Ngati Rangitihi
Marcel RenataAucklandNgati Whanaunga / Te Aupouri
Joe RoyalBay of PlentyTe Arawa / Ngati Whatua o Orakei / Ngapuhi
Jacob SkeenWaikatoNgapuhi
Sean WainuiTaranakiNgai Tuhoe / Te Aitanga a Mahaki / Nga Arikikaiputahi / Ngati Porou
Brad WeberHawkes BayNgati Porou
Ihaia WestHawkes BayNgati Kahungunu / Ngati Porou

Six new caps have been named in the side including this year’s New Zealand Under 20 captain, Wellington’s Leni Apisai.

Maori All Blacks Head Coach Colin Cooper (Ngati Pukenga/Ngati 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 Maori 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 Maori 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 Maori 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.

Maori 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

Maori All Blacks pre-departure schedule

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 Ngati Pukenga / Ngati Porou
Asst Coach Tana Umaga  
Set Piece Coach Carl Hoeft  
Manager Tony Ward  
Kaumatua Luke Crawford Ngati Tuwharetoa / Ngati Porou
Doctor Zig Khouri  
Physiotherapist Ash Draper  
Strengthen and Conditioning Coach Brad Anderson Ngapuhi
Analyst Jayson Ross Ngati Kahungunu
Logistics/Masseur      Paul Minehan