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Maori All Blacks team named to play USA

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allblacks.com     03 Nov 2016     Getty Images

The Maori All Blacks play the USA Eagles at Toyota Park on Friday night (1pm Saturday NZT), followed by the All Blacks against Ireland at Soldier Field on Saturday afternoon (9am Sunday NZT).

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The Maori All Blacks team (with iwi/tribe) is:

1 Kane Hames - Ngai Tuhoe / Ngati Porou
2 Ash Dixon (Captain) - Ngati Tahinga
3 Ben May - Ngati Maniapoto / Tainui
4 Jacob Skeen -  Ngapuhi
5 Tom Franklin - Ngati Maniapoto
6 Elliot Dixon - Ngapuhi
7 Kara Pryor * - Ngati Awa / Ngati Pikiao / Ngati Rangitihi
8 Akira Ioane - Ngapuhi / Te Whanau a Apanui
9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow - Waikato / Ngati Maniapoto
10 Ihaia West - Ngati Kahungunu / Ngati Porou
11 James Lowe - Ngapuhi / Ngai Te Rangi
12 Tim Bateman - Ngai Tahu
13 Matt Proctor - Ngapuhi / Ngaiterangi
14 Rieko Ioane -  Ngapuhi / Te Whanau a Apanui
15 Damian McKenzie -  Ngati Tuwharetoa / Ngati Tahinga

16 Joe Royal - Te Arawa / Ngati Whatua o Orakei / Ngapuhi
17 Chris Eves - Waikato / Tainui
18 Marcel Renata * - Ngati Whanaunga / Te Aupouri
19 Leighton Price * - Waikato / Ngati Maniapoto
20 Shane Christie - Te Ati Haunui a Paparangi / Ngati Kurawhatia
21 Brad Weber - Ngati Porou
22 Marty McKenzie -  Ngati Tuwharetoa / Ngati Tahinga
23 Sean Wainui - Ngai Tuhoe / Te Aitanga a Mahaki/Nga Arikikaiputahi/Ngati Porou

* denotes new Maori All Blacks cap

With a number of All Blacks being made available this week, Head Coach Colin Cooper (Ngati Pukenga/Ngati 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 Maori All Blacks last year.

Their re-entry into the Maori 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 Maori 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 Maori All Blacks take on The British & Irish Lions at Rotorua International Stadium on 17 June 2017 as part of the DHL New Zealand Lions Series. The last time these teams met in 2005 the Maori All Blacks secured their first win in seven matches dating back to 1930. The hype surrounding this much anticipated unofficial “fourth Test” will ensure a Test match like atmosphere in a region considered the heartland of Maori culture. Support your team and experience the electric atmosphere when thousands of passionate British & Irish Lions fans descend on Rotorua. Be there. Be heard. OUT ROAR.