Maori All Blacks team named for first of two matches against Fiji
Maori All Blacks Head Coach Clayton McMillan (Ngai Te Rangi / Ngai Tamawhariua / Te Rangaihouhiri) has today named the first side of the 2019 season, to play Rugby World Cup hopefuls, Fiji, in Suva this weekend.
The team is (with Iwi, Province, and Investec Super Rugby Club):
|1||Ross Wright||Ngati Whatua / Ngati Porou||Northland|
|2||Ash Dixon (Captain)||Ngati Tahinga||Hawkes Bay/Highlanders|
|3||Tyrel Lomax||Ngai Tuhoe / Muaupoko||Tasman/Highlanders|
|4||Isaia Walker-Leawere||Ngati Porou||Hawke’s Bay/Hurricanes|
|5||Tom Franklin||Ngati Maniapoto||Bay Of Plenty/ Highlanders|
|6||Reed Prinsep||Te Rarawa||Canterbury/Hurricanes|
|7||Mitch Karpik||Rongomaiwahine / Ngati Kahungunu||Bay of Plenty/Chiefs|
|8||Akira Ioane||Ngapuhi / Te Whanau a Apanui||Auckland/Blues|
|9||Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi||Ngati Pikiao||Taranaki/Chiefs|
|10||Otere Black||Ngai Tuhoe / Te Whanau a Apanui / Ngati Tuwharetoa||Manawatu/Blues|
|11||Sean Wainui||Ngai Tuhoe / Te Aitanga a Mahaki / Nga Arikikaiputahi / Ngati Porou||Taranaki/ Chiefs|
|12||Teihorangi Walden||Te Atiawa||Taranaki/Highlanders|
|13||Rob Thompson||Ngati Kahungunu / Nga Rauru||Manawatu/Highlanders|
|14||Shaun Stevenson||Ngapuhi||North Harbour/Chiefs|
|15||Fletcher Smith *||Ngati Kahungunu||Waikato/Hurricanes|
|16||Nathan Harris *||Ngati Hikairo / Waikato Tainui||Bay Of Plenty/Chiefs|
|17||Haereiti Hetet *||Ngati Maniapoto||Waikato|
|18||Marcel Renata||Ngati Whanaunga / Ngai Takoto||Auckland/Blues|
|19||Pari Pari Parkinson||Te Whanau a Apanui||Tasman/Highlanders|
|20||Whetukamokamo Douglas||Ngati Porou / Ngati Whakaue||Canterbury/Crusaders|
|21||Bryn Hall||Ngati Ranginui||North Harbour/Crusaders|
|22||Alex Nankivell *||Ngapuhi||Tasman/Chiefs|
|23||Jordan Hyland *||Ngai Tahu||Northland|
*denotes uncapped for Maori All Blacks
McMillan has named a hugely experienced side to kick off their 2019 fixtures calendar, with fullback Fletcher Smith the only debutant named to start.
The other four new caps will notch up their first Maori matches from the bench –hooker Nathan Harris, outside backs Alex Nankivell and Jordan Hyland and young Waikato prop Haereiti Hetet who was called into the squad this week, and named in the team the day after his 22nd birthday.
Every player in the starting 15 is an experienced Super Rugby player and the calibre of the bench sets up a mouth-watering battle against the world’s 9th ranked Fijian team.
“We have a proud tradition of playing the passionate and highly skillful Fijians. We have relished every one of our 29 encounters, and I know that ranked in the world top 10, Fiji will be playing with more than one eye on their Rugby World Cup campaign.
“We have named a strong side to reflect what we think is going to be a great contest.
“We know we will need the strike power of our reserves and it’s exciting to think we have the likes of Nathan Harris, Pari Pari Parkinson, Marcel Renata, Whetu Douglas, Alex Nankivell and Bryn Hall sitting on the bench.
“We expect the conditions will be hot, but we know that many of these Super Rugby players have played in Fiji before so that experience will be invaluable.
“We’re wanting the boys to be direct in contact, and deliberate in their game decisions, so having someone like Ash lead them will be critical.
“We’re very fortunate that many of these lads have played together in this team, and it’s very exciting that we will get an opportunity to do it all over again in Rotorua next week.”
The Maori All Blacks have played Fiji 29 times with the Maori recording a 20-7-2 win/loss/draw tally. The Maori team are unbeaten against Fiji since 1957 including their last encounter in Suva four years ago. That day the Maori All Blacks sneaked ahead 27-26 to break Fijian hearts.
Maori All Blacks Management Team
Head Coach – Clayton McMcillan Ngai Te Rangi (Ngai Tamawhariua / Te Rangaihouhiri)
Assistant Coach – Roger Randle Ngati Awa
Assistant Coach – Joe Maddock Te Atiawa
Kaumatua – Luke Crawford Ngati Tuwharetoa / Ngati Porou
Manager – Tony Ward
Campaign Manager – Matt Sexton
Strength & Conditioning Trainer – Simon Thomas
Analyst – Jayson Ross, Ngati Kahungunu
Doctor – Ra Durie, Ngati Kauwhata / Ngati Raukawa / Rangitane
Physio – Adam Letts
Assistant Physio – Cameron Shaw
Logistics – Ezra Iupeli
Media Manager – Nonumalo Juli Clausen
Maori All Blacks Match Schedule
Saturday 13 July 2019, 3pm
ANZ Stadium, Suva
Saturday 20 July 2019, 7:35pm
Rotorua International Stadium