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Heavy hitters named in Maori All Blacks squad for Japan XV series

By Ned Lester
Joe Moody of the All Blacks looks on during the 2020 Tri-Nations rugby match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the Argentina Los Pumas at Bankwest Stadium on November 14, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The Maori All Blacks squad has been announced ahead of their two-Test series against Japan XV.

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The squad is led by former All Black and current Chiefs assistant coach Ross Filipo, who is joined by Roger Randle, Greg Feek and Jamie Joseph as the brains trust behind the selections.

Filipo said the 28-strong squad features players who impressed throughout the recently concluded Super Rugby Pacific season, including a number of new faces.

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“The DHL Super Rugby Pacific campaign provided us with a solid platform to select from as the competitiveness shown by the players is exactly what we need against Japan XV. Our new players have been rewarded for their consistency and it’s great to see the return of many others to this environment.

“I’d like to congratulate every player in our squad on their selection. Playing for this team is a huge honour and this is an opportunity for us all to represent our whanau, heritage and country on the world stage,” Filipo said.

New Zealand Maori Rugby Board Chair, Professor Dame Farah Palmer spoke to the meaning of the Maori All Blacks in 2024.

“One of our pou in the New Zealand Maori Rugby strategy is Angitutanga – uplifting Maori lives. We want Maori to be successful as Maori and to pursue excellence and we know they will represent our culture with mana on the international stage.

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“On behalf of the Maori Rugby Board, I’d like to congratulate every player and their whanau on making the Maori All Blacks. We are immensely proud of you and cannot wait to support you all in this campaign,” Palmer said.

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Maori All Blacks squad

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Benet Kumeroa* (Te Atihaunui a Paparangi/Bay of Plenty/Hurricanes)
Joe Moody (Ngai Tahu/Canterbury/Crusaders)
Marcel Renata (Ngati Whanaunga, Ngai Takoto/Auckland/Blues)
Ollie Norris (Ngapuhi/Waikato/Chiefs)
Pouri Rakete-Stones (Ngapuhi/Hawke’s Bay/Hurricanes)

Hookers
Kurt Eklund (Ngati Kahu/Bay of Plenty/Blues)
Tyrone Thompson (Ngati Kahungunu/Chiefs)

Locks
Isaia Walker-Leawere (Ngati Porou/Hawke’s Bay/Hurricanes)
Laghlan McWhannell* (Ngati Kahungunu/Waikato/Blues)
Max Hicks (Ngati Ranginui/Tasman/Highlanders)
Tahlor Cahill* (Ngapuhi/Canterbury/Crusaders)

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Loose forwards
Billy Harmon (Ngai Tahu/Canterbury/Highlanders)
Cameron Suafoa (Ngapuhi/North Harbour/Blues)
Cullen Grace (Ngati Whakaue/Canterbury/Crusaders)
Nikora Broughton* (Nga Rauru, Ngati Ruanui/Bay of Plenty/Highlanders)
Te Kamaka Howden (Tuhoe/Manawatu/Hurricanes)

Half Backs
Sam Nock (Ngapuhi/Northland/Blues)
Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Ngati Rangitihi, Ngati Pikiao, Tuhourangi, Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Awa/Bay of Plenty/Chiefs)

First five-eighths
Rivez Reihana* (Ngai Tahu, Ngati Hine, Ngapuhi, Ngati Tuwharetoa/Northland/Crusaders)
Taha Kemara* (Te Whanau a Apanui, Te Whakatohea/Waikato/Crusaders)

Midfield
Bailyn Sullivan (Ngati Kahungunu/Waikato/Hurricanes)
Corey Evans* (Te Aupouri, Ngati Kahu/Northland/Blues)
Daniel Rona* (Te Atiawa/Taranaki/Chiefs)
Rameka Poihipi (Ngati Whakaue/Canterbury/Chiefs)
Quinn Tupaea (Ngaati Tiipa, Ngaati Amaru, Waikato/Waikato/Chiefs)

Outside Backs
Cole Forbes* (Ngati Awa/Bay of Plenty/Blues)
Josh Moorby (Ngati Maniapoto/Waikato/Hurricanes)
Tana Tuhakaraina* (Ngati Haua/Waikato/Chiefs)

Unavailable for selection due to injury:
Manaaki Selby-Rickit (Ngati Raukawa)
Shaun Stevenson (Ngapuhi)
Jared Profitt (Ngati Porou)

Schedule:
Maori All Blacks v Japan XV
Saturday, 29 June, 10.00pm NZST (7.00pm JST)
Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium, Tokyo

Maori All Blacks v Japan XV
Saturday, 6 July, 9.00pm NZST (6.00pm JST)
Toyota Stadium, Toyota

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Comments

3 Comments
M
Michael 18 days ago

Well….that was a long article. I stopped reading through the players after 2 positions.

T
Troy 18 days ago

Not a bad Māori team considering. Joe Moody huh? who knew? Bit like Christian Cullen when he couldn't make the ABs anymore, nek minit..
Rapt for Cameron Suafua to be in the side considering what he's faced this year - kia toa e hoa.

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