Maori All Blacks squad named for 2016 northern tour

New Zealand Rugby Media Release-

 

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The Māori All Blacks squad to tour to Chicago, London and Ireland next month has been named.

The squad was announced by New Zealand Rugby Māori Board acting chairman Peter Goldsmith, in Wellington today.

The 2016 Māori All Blacks squad is (with * to denote new cap):

Player Province Whakapapa
Leni Apisai * Wellington Ngāti Awa
Tim Bateman Canterbury Ngāi Tahu
Otere Black Manawatu Ngāi Tuhoe / Te Whānau ā Apanui / Ngāti Tūwharetoa
Shane Christie Tasman Te Ati Haunui ā Pāpārangi / Ngāti Kurawhatia
Ash Dixon, Captain Hawkes Bay Ngāti Tahinga
Whetu Douglas * Waikato Ngāti Porou / Ngāti Whakaue
Jason Emery Manawatu Ngāti Haua / Ngāti Maniapoto
Chris Eves Manawatu Waikato / Tainui
Tom Franklin Otago Ngāti Maniapoto
Billy Guyton * Tasman Ngāpuhi / Ngāti Pikiao / Ngāti Raukawa
Kane Hames Tasman Ngāi Tuhoe / Ngāti Porou
Akira Ioane Auckland Ngāpuhi / Te Whānau ā Apanui
Mike Kainga Taranaki Ngāti Kahungunu
James Lowe Tasman Ngāpuhi / Ngāi Te Rangi
Ben May Hawkes Bay Ngāti Maniapoto
Marty McKenzie Taranaki Ngāti Tūwharetoa / Ngāti Tahinga
Leighton Price * Taranaki Waikato / Ngāti Maniapoto
Reed Prinsep * Canterbury Te Rārawa
Matt Proctor Wellington Ngāi Te Rangi / Ngāpuhi
Kara Pryor * Northland Ngāti Awa / Ngāti Pikiao / Ngāti Rangitihi
Marcel Renata Auckland Ngāti Whānaunga / Te Aupouri
Joe Royal Bay of Plenty Te Arawa / Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei / Ngāpuhi
Jacob Skeen Waikato Ngāpuhi
Sean Wainui Taranaki Ngāi Tuhoe / Te Āitanga a Māhaki / Ngā Arikikaiputahi / Ngāti Porou
Brad Weber Hawkes Bay Ngāti Porou
Ihaia West Hawkes Bay Ngāti Kahungunu / Ngāti Porou

One more name is to be added.

Six new caps have been named in the side including this year’s New Zealand Under 20 captain, Wellington’s Leni Apisai.

Māori All Blacks Head Coach Colin Cooper (Ngāti Pūkenga/Ngāti Porou) congratulated all those selected.

“This is an exciting time for all those involved in this special team.

“We’re delighted with the squad we have announced today – we think there’s an incredible mix of experience and very wise heads, and a special crop of new talent that has been exciting to watch in action in Super Rugby and Mitre 10 Cup.

“This team continues to be an important opportunity for players looking to push for higher honours.

“We are particularly delighted for Rieko Ioane who was named for the first time with the All Blacks on Sunday – and he joins several Māori All Blacks who have earned a call up to the All Blacks in recent years – Nehe Milner Skudder, Codie Taylor, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Joe Moody, Brad Weber, Elliot Dixon, Liam Squire, Damian McKenzie and last year’s skipper Charlie Ngatai currently unavailable due to concussion.”

Ash Dixon will take over from Charlie Ngatai in the captain’s role.

“We continue to work closely with the All Blacks coaches to ensure that we are aligned and these selections demonstrate the strength of the Māori All Blacks as a high performance team.”

“It’s also good that both teams are in Chicago and the United Kingdom at the same time, so that we can retain that alignment,” Cooper said.

“We are looking forward to heading to Chicago to play the USA Eagles.  Playing any national side is an honour, and they’re a team that’s really cementing their place in international rugby.”

“Our matches against Munster and Harlequins will also be very special as we love taking the Māori All Blacks’ style of rugby to other countries.”

Five players still involved in Mitre 10 Cup Finals will join the squad in Auckland after their matches this weekend.

The squad flies out on Sunday night.

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