Rugby: Coach Clayton McMillan names exciting Māori All Blacks squad named for two-match series against Manu Samoa

Ash Dixon will lead a powerful Māori All Blacks squad in their upcoming two-match series against Manu Samoa.

Coach Clayton McMillan has included several stars of Super Rugby, including hooker Dixon, who has skippered the side in their last five campaigns. 

The series gets underway on June 26 at Sky Stadium in Wellington, and then a week later in Auckland as part of a double-header at Mount Smart alongside the All Blacks and Tonga.

The squad features two debutants in Highlanders loose-forward Josh Dickson and Chiefs prop Ollie Norris.

"We introduced a number of new players into our environment last year so to have them back for this series is pleasing," says McMillan.

"I am confident that Ollie and Josh will transition from their Super clubs to our whānau with ease.

"We only have a short build-up, and we are expecting a fierce challenge from Samoa as they lead into their World Cup qualifying match. 

"We know that will add an extra edge to the match and that is something we are looking forward to.

"Our players have an immense amount of pride pulling on the Māori All Blacks jersey and with that representing their whānau and iwi, and we know that our Samoan brothers feel the same. 

"Playing alongside the All Blacks v Tonga match at Mt Smart will be a very special occasion."

Māori All Blacks Squad:

Josh Hohneck, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Ollie Norris, Marcel Renata, Tamaiti Williams, Ash Dixon, Kurt Eklund, Manasi Selby-Rickit, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Pari Pari Parkinson, Josh Dickson, Billy Harmon, Reed Prinsep, Whetukamokamo Douglas, Bryn Hall, Sam Nock, Otere Black, Josh Ioane, Billy Proctor, Quinn Tupaea, Alex Nankivell, Sean Wainui, Shaun Stevenson, Jonah Lowe, Kaleb Trask