Physical game ahead for Maori in Canada

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Lynn McConnell     01 Nov 2017     Getty Images

Former Auckland coach Mark Anscombe had been involved with Canada before he was sacked after a loss to the United States in World Cup qualifying and the job was taken by the former Welsh captain Kingsley Jones.
Hoeata said when he left New Zealand three and a half years ago one of the things that disappointed him was the thought of not putting the Maori All Blacks jersey on again in a game.

"So it's a huge privilege to be back," he said. 

Hoeata said the Maoris side was unique with its environment where it was from day one of the team getting together.

"It's got the fun side, but it's been a great team to be part of professionally as well. We've had some huge results in the past."

In spite of the team away from the side there were still players he knew like Tim Bateman, Ash Dixon and Charlie Ngatai.

"It's good to catch up with them again and be able to have a run around with them again," he said.

During his time in the side he said one of the highlights had been the centenary year of 2010 when in three games they played two Test matches against Ireland [31-28 Rotorua] and England [35-28 Napier]. They won both.

"To beat England at home was pretty special," he said.

Assistant coach Carl Hoeft said the side had settled in after their travel and were starting to get more involved in their preparation with more set-piece work on Tuesday.

Like Hoeata, Hoeft was expecting a physical game.

"They're big strong men, they've got a proud history and I expect nothing less than a really hard, physical game," he said.