New talent, new coach, new chapter for Maori All Blacks

Getty Images     23 Oct 2017     Getty Images

The Maori All Blacks squad is (* denotes new cap):

Chris Eves (Waikato / Tainui) - North Harbour
Ross Wright * (Ngati Whatua) - Northland
Marcel Renata (Ngati Whanaunga / Te Aupouri) - Auckland
Tyrell Lomax * (Ngai Tuhoe / Muaupoko) - Tasman

Ash Dixon (Ngati Tahinga) - Hawke's Bay
Liam Polwart * (Ngati Maru) - Bay of Plenty

Tom Franklin (Ngati Maniapoto) - Bay of Plenty
Jackson Hemopo * (Tuhourangi / Ngati Wahiao) - Manawatu
Jarrad Hoeata (Ngai Tuhoe / Ngati Kahungunu) - North Harbour
Te Keepatakatakaaorangi(Keepa) Mewett * (Te Aupouri) - Bay of Plenty


Dan Pryor (Ngati Awa / Ngati Pikiao / Ngati Rangitihi) - Northland
Sam Henwood * (Ngapuhi / Te Whanau a Apanui) - Counties Manukau
Akira Ioane (Ngapuhi / Te Whanau a Apanui) - Auckland
Jordan Manihera * (Ngati Wairere / Waikato -Tainui) - Waikato


Brad Weber (Ngati Porou) - Hawke's Bay
Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Ngati Pikiao) - Taranaki
Jonathan Ruru * (Ngati Kahungunu / Rongomaiwahine) - Otago

Ihaia West (Ngati Kahungunu / Ngati Porou) - Hawke's Bay
Jackson Garden-Bachop* (Ngati Awa) - Wellington


Tim Bateman (Ngai Tahu) - Canterbury
Rob Thompson (Ngati Kahungunu, Nga Rauru) - Canterbury
Teihorangi Walden * (Te Atiawa) - Otago


Sean Wainui (Ngai Tuhoe / Te Aitanga a Mahaki / Nga Arikikaiputahi / Ngati Porou) - Taranaki
Charlie Ngatai (Ngati Porou / Te Whanau a Apanui / Te Whakatohea) - Taranaki
Ambrose Curtis (Ngai Te Rangi) - Manawatu

Two more players will be named later this week.

Players unavailable due to injury are: Otere Black, Namatahi Waa, Ben May, Matt Proctor, Jacob Skeen, Kara Pryor, Leighton Price, Elliot Dixon, Bryn Hall.

The Maori All Blacks play Canada in Vancouver on 3 November, and the French Barbarians in Bordeaux on 10 November. 


Head Coach Clayton McMillan said the full squad of 27 included a group of new, but not inexperienced talent.

With players either moving offshore, or earning selection to the All Blacks, the squad takes on a very different look from the Maori All Blacks side that played against the British & Irish Lions in June.

Those selected for the first time include Northland’s Ross Wright, Waikato’s Jordan Manihera, Bay of Plenty’s Liam Polwart and Keepa Mewett, Counties Manukau’s Sam Henwood, Tasman’s Tyrell Lomax, Manawatu’s Jackson Hemopo, Wellington’s Jackson Garden-Bachop, Otago’s Jonathan Ruru and Teihorangi Walden.

“Many of our players have displayed outstanding form in the Mitre 10 Cup, and this tour gives them a great opportunity to step up another level again,” McMillan said.

“We’re really proud that the likes of Damian McKenzie, Rieko Ioane, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Kane Hames have all earned time in the All Blacks environment – as it shows the strength of Maori talent in New Zealand. But we now also have an opportunity to uncover other emerging Maori talent for the black jersey.

“We are fortunate to have Ash Dixon return as captain; he is the heart of our pack and his leadership, both on and off the field, steers the team’s special character,” he said.

Having coached Bay of Plenty to a Mitre 10 Cup Championship Finals berth, and the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians against the British & Irish Lions earlier this year, McMillan is embarking on his first campaign with the Maori team, a new chapter for the team, and for himself.

“This short tour is a great opportunity to take the Maori All Blacks to new audiences. It’s only the second time we have played Canada and it will be our first visit to Vancouver.

“Our match against the French Barbarians opens what will be a special weekend of rugby in France, as we play in Bordeaux on the eve of the All Blacks Test match against France in Paris.

“I’m very proud to be part of this team, and I am excited about what the next few weeks will bring,” he said.

The Maori All Blacks assemble in Auckland this week ahead of travel on Sunday. Players involved in Mitre 10 Cup Finals will join the squad after those matches.

Maori All Blacks match schedule:

Friday 3 November
Canada v Maori All Blacks
BC Place

Friday 10 November
French Barbarians v Maori All Blacks
Stade Chaban-Delmas
Place Johnston

Maori All Blacks management team:

Head Coach Clayton McMillan Ngai Te Rangi (Ngai Tamawhariua, Te Rangihouhiri)

Asst Coach Tana Umaga

Asst Coach Carl Hoeft

Kaumatua Luke Crawford Ngati Tuwharetoa / Ngati Porou

Strengthen & Conditioning Trainer Simon Thomas

Analyst Jayson Ross Ngati Kahungunu

Doctor Ra Durie Ngati Kauwhata /Ngati Raukawa / Rangitane

Team Manager Tony Ward

Logistics Manager Paul Minehan

Campaign Manager Matt Sexton

Physiotherapist Ash Draper