Ten new faces named in Maori All Blacks squad for Northern Hemisphere tour

  • 23/10/2017
The Maori All Blacks will face Canada and the French Barbarians on their tour.
The Maori All Blacks will face Canada and the French Barbarians on their tour. Photo credit: Getty Images

Ten new caps have been named in the Māori All Blacks squad for their 2017 Northern Hemisphere tour to Canada and France.

Props Ross Wright and Tyrel Lomax, hooker Liam Polwart, locks Jackson Hemopo and Keepa Mewett, loose forwards Sam Henwood and Jordan Manihera, halfback Jonathan Ruru, first five-eighth Jackson Garden- Bachop and midfield back Teihorangi Walden are all the new faces in the 27-man squad.

A number of players including Otere Black, Namatahi Waa, Ben May, Matt Proctor, Jacob Skeen, Kara Pryor, Leighton Price, Elliot Dixon, Bryn Hall were all not considered due to injury.

Only four players who started in the sides 32-10 loss to the British and Irish Lions in Hamilton in June have been included.

Despite missing out on a number of key players, head coach Clayton McMillan is happy with the squad he has selected.

"Many of our players have displayed outstanding form in the Mitre 10 Cup, and this tour gives them a great opportunity to step up another level again," said McMillan

"We’re really proud that the likes of Damian McKenzie, Rieko Ioane, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Kane Hames have all earned time in the All Blacks environment – as it shows the strength of Māori talent in New Zealand. But we now also have an opportunity to uncover other emerging Maori talent for the black jersey."

Hawke's Bay hooker Ash Dixon will lead the side. The 29-year-old was captain during their Northern tour in 2016.

"We are fortunate to have Ash Dixon return as captain; he is the heart of our pack and his leadership, both on and off the field, steers the team’s special character."

The 27-strong squad will face Canada in Vancouver on 3 November, and the French Barbarians in Bordeaux on 10 November.

The Māori All Blacks assemble in Auckland this week ahead of travel on Sunday. Players involved in Mitre 10 Cup Finals will join the squad after those matches.

Clayton McMillan will announce two more players who will join the squad later this week.

Maori All Blacks squad:

Backs: Ambrose Curtis, Sean Wainui, Charlie Ngatai, Teihorangi Walden, Rob Thompson, Tim Bateman, Ihaia West, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Brad Weber, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Jonathan Ruru.

Forwards: Akira Ioane, Jordan Manihera, Sam Henwood, Dan Pryor, Tom Franklin, Jackson Hemopo, Jarrad Hoeata, Keepa Mewett, Chris Eves, Ross Wright, Marcel Renata, Tyrel Lomax, Ash Dixon (c), Liam Polwart.

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