One new cap in Maori All Blacks team named for second Samoa test
Ahead of their 125th international match, Maori All Blacks Head Coach Clayton McMillan has named a largely unchanged side as the Maori look to do the double over Manu Samoa this weekend at Mt Smart stadium after a solid win in Wellington last week. McMillan’s side are set to play at the stadium for the first time since 1996.
There will be no respite for a Samoan forward pack that came under serious pressure at scrum time last week as following an impressive cameo off the bench, Crusaders rookie Tamaiti Williams is set to start at loosehead. Retaining their positions next to him in the front row, Josh Hohneck and Ash Dixon, with the latter once again named captain of the side.
A change in the row sees Highlanders key man Pari Pari Parkinson return to the side, with Super Rugby teammate Manaaki Selby-Rickit accompanying him, serving to solidify an already strong Maori lineout.
The backrow is unchanged with the trio of Prinsep, Harmon and Douglas looking to add power and pace across the park.
Among the backs, Sam Nock gets a chance in the No. 9 jersey, with Bryn Hall dropping to the bench to make way. Nock will pair up with Blues teammate Otere Black who will be looking to build upon an impressive display from ten last week in his last game before heading to Japan.
The centres remain unchanged, with Alex Nankivell and Billy Proctor combining for the second week in a row, whilst variations to the back three see Jonah Lowe and Josh Ioane start on the right wing and at fullback respectively. Try scorer from last week, Sean Wainui, retains his spot on the left.
On the bench, Kurt Eklund and Marcel Renata will once more provide front row impact as they are joined by 21-year-old Chiefs rookie Ollie Norris, set to make his Maori All Blacks debut. Isaia Walker-Leawere drops to the bench alongside Josh Dickson. The backs replacements include Rameka Poihipi with Kaleb Trask not included in the 23. Shaun Stevenson, double try-scorer last week rounds off the squad.
Discussing the team’s changes, Maori Head Coach McMillan said: “We wanted to give everyone in our 26-man squad the opportunity to pull on the Maori All Blacks jersey. This weekend, Ollie, Pari and Rameka get that chance.”
Highlighting Ollie Norris, McMillan was excited to see him make his international bow. “It has been a special time for the Norris brothers. Last week Jacob debuted and this week it’s his younger brother that gets the opportunity. Ollie has had a successful Super Rugby campaign for the Chiefs, and this is his chance to step up to the next level,” said McMillan.
The return of Parkinson was also expected to be a huge asset for the Maori. “Pari, last played for the side, when they took on Fiji, in Rotorua. He was immense that game, provided a huge presence against Fiji and we are looking for a similar game from him on Saturday.”
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The Maori All Black starting squad to play Manu Samoa (Saturday 3 July, kick-off: 4.30PM NZT).
- Tamaiti Williams (Canterbury/Crusaders)
- Ash Dixon © (Hawke’s Bay/Highlanders)
- Josh Hohneck (Otago/Highlanders)
- Manaaki Selby-Rickit (Bay of Plenty/Highlanders)
- Pari Pari Parkinson (Tasman/Highlanders)
- Reed Prinsep (Canterbury/Hurricanes)
- Billy Harmon (Canterbury/Highlanders)
- Whetukamokamo Douglas (Bay of Plenty/Crusaders)
- Sam Nock (Northland/Blues)
- Otere Black (Bay of Plenty/Blues)
- Sean Wainui (Bay of Plenty/Chiefs)
- Alex Nankivell (Tasman/Chiefs)
- Billy Proctor (Wellington/Hurricanes)
- Jonah Lowe (Hawke’s Bay/Chiefs)
- Josh Ioane (Otago/Highlanders)
- Kurt Eklund (Bay of Plenty/Blues)
- Ollie Norris (Waikato/Chiefs)
- Marcel Renata (Auckland/Blues/ Ng?ti Wh?naunga)
- Isaia Walker-Leawere (Hawke’s Bay/Hurricanes)
- Josh Dickson (Otago/Highlanders)
- Bryn Hall (North Harbour/Crusaders)
- Rameka Poihipi (Canterbury/Chiefs)
- Shaun Stevenson (North Harbour/Chiefs)
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