Maori All Blacks Squad for DHL NZ Lions Series     08 Jun 2017    

The 2017 Maori All Blacks Squad for the DHL New Zealand Lions Series is (* denotes new cap):


Chris Eves - North Harbour - Waikato/Tainui (7 appearances)
Kane Hames - Tasman - Ngai Tuhoe/Ngati Porou (5) 
Mike Kainga - Taranaki - Ngati Kahungunu (2)
Ben May - Hawke’s Bay - Ngati Maniapoto (12)
Marcel Renata - Auckland - Ngati Whanaunga / Te Aupouri (4)

Ash Dixon (captain) - Hawke’s Bay - Ngati Tahinga (8)
Hikawera Elliot - Counties Manukau - Ngati Awa (9)

Tom Franklin - Bay of Plenty - Ngati Maniapoto (4)
Leighton Price - Taranaki - Waikato/Ngati Maniapoto (3)
Joe Wheeler - Tasman - Ngai Tahu (2)

Loose forwards
Elliot Dixon - Southland - Ngapuhi (9)
Akira Ioane - Auckland - Ngapuhi/Te Whanau a Apanui (5)
Liam Messam - Waikato - Ngati Maniapoto (12)
Reed Prinsep - Canterbury - Te Rarawa (2)
Kara Pryor – Northland - Ngati Awa/Ngati Pikiao/Ngati Rangitihi (2)


Bryn Hall* - North Harbour - Ngati Ranginui 
Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi* - Taranaki - Ngati Pikiao 

First five-eighths
Otere Black - Manawatu - Ngai Tuhoe/Te Whanau a Apanui/Ngati Tuwharetoa (4)
Ihaia West - Hawke’s Bay - Ngati Kahungunu/Ngati Porou (7)  

Tim Bateman - Canterbury - Ngai Tahu (12)
Charlie Ngatai - Taranaki - Ngati Porou/Te Whanau a Apanui/Te Whakatohea (9)
Matt Proctor - Wellington - Ngai Te Rangi/Ngapuhi (9)
Rob Thompson* - Canterbury - Ngati Kahungunu 
James Lowe - Tasman - Ngapuhi/Ngai Te Rangi (5)

Outside backs
Damian McKenzie - Waikato - Ngati Tuwharetoa/Ngati Tahinga (3)
Nehe Milner-Skudder - Manawatu - Ngati Porou/Tapuika (2)
Declan O’Donnell - Taranaki - Ngati Tuwharetoa/Ngati Porou (1)
Coaching and management team

Head Coach - Colin Cooper - Ngati Pukenga/Ngati Porou
Assistant Coach - Tana Umaga
Set-piece Coach - Carl Hoeft
Manager - Tony Ward
Kaumatua - Luke Crawford - Ngati Tuwharetoa/Ngati Porou
Media Manager - Hannah Fleming - Te Atiawa/Ngati Te Whiti
Doctor - Zig Khouri
Physiotherapist - Ash Draper
Strength and Conditioning coach - Brad Anderson - Ngapuhi
Analyst - Jayson Ross - Ngati Kahungunu
Logisitics/Massage - Paul Minehan 

Announced in Auckland this afternoon by Maori Rugby Board Chair, Dr Farah Palmer, the squad features three new caps among a number of experienced players who have previously had the honour of pulling on the jersey.
Cooper is looking forward to bringing the players together in Rotorua, along with the management team, to face the Lions.

“We’ve got a very exciting group coming together to experience this special and rare occasion. The majority of us have been working together over the past couple of years so we already have an understanding of each other and clarity around what we’re looking to achieve.” 

Cooper said the magnitude of the match was huge and representing the country, New Zealand Rugby and Maoridom was always front of mind for the Maori All Blacks.

“Knowing the ground will be full for the match, and getting a feel for the support that’s coming from the Rotorua community in hosting us, along with the rest of New Zealand around the Series and the match itself is exciting.

“We’re very much looking forward to bringing our whanau together over the weekend to start focusing on how we’re going to present ourselves to the Lions, and the world, as the Maori All Blacks.

These two sides last met in 2005, when the Maori All Blacks upset the touring British and Irish Lions 19-13 at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.