July 11, 2019

Māori All Blacks team to take on Fiji

Six Gallagher Chiefs named in team

Maori All Blacks Head Coach Clayton McMillan has today named the first side of the 2019 season, to play Rugby World Cup hopefuls, Fiji, in Suva this weekend.

The side features six Gallagher Chiefs players including debutants Alex Nankivell and Nathan Harris.

The team is (with Iwi, Province, and Investec Super Rugby Club):
1. Ross Wright Ngati Whatua / Ngati Porou Northland
2. Ash Dixon (Captain) Ngati Tahinga Hawkes Bay/Highlanders
3. Tyrel Lomax Ngai Tuhoe / Muaupoko Tasman/Highlanders
4. Isaia Walker-Leawere Ngati Porou Hawke’s Bay/Hurricanes
5. Tom Franklin Ngati Maniapoto Bay Of Plenty/ Highlanders
6. Reed Prinsep Te Rarawa Canterbury/Hurricanes
7. Mitch Karpik Rongomaiwahine / Ngati Kahungunu Bay of Plenty/Chiefs
8. Akira Ioane Ngapuhi / Te Whanau a Apanui Auckland/Blues
9. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi Ngati Pikiao Taranaki/Chiefs
10. Otere Black Ngai Tuhoe / Te Whanau a Apanui / Ngati Tuwharetoa Manawatu/Blues
11. Sean Wainui Ngai Tuhoe / Te Aitanga a Mahaki / Nga Arikikaiputahi / Ngati Porou Taranaki/ Chiefs
12. Teihorangi Walden Te Atiawa Taranaki/Highlanders
13. Rob Thompson Ngati Kahungunu / Nga Rauru Manawatu/Highlanders
14. Shaun Stevenson Ngapuhi North Harbour/Chiefs
15. Fletcher Smith* Ngati Kahungunu Waikato/Hurricanes

16. Nathan Harris* Ngati Hikairo / Waikato Tainui Bay Of Plenty/Chiefs
17. Haereiti Hetet* Ngati Maniapoto Waikato
18. Marcel Renata Ngati Whanaunga / Ngai Takoto Auckland/Blues
19. Pari Pari Parkinson Te Whanau a Apanui Tasman/Highlanders
20. Whetukamokamo Douglas Ngati Porou / Ngati Whakaue Canterbury/Crusaders
21. Bryn Hall Ngati Ranginui North Harbour/Crusaders
22. Alex Nankivell* Ngapuhi Tasman/Chiefs
23. Jordan Hyland* Ngai Tahu Northland

*denotes uncapped for Maori All Blacks

McMillan has named a hugely experienced side to kick off their 2019 fixtures calendar, with fullback Fletcher Smith the only debutant named to start.

The other four new caps will notch up their first Maori matches from the bench –hooker Nathan Harris, outside backs Alex Nankivell and Jordan Hyland and young Waikato prop Haereiti Hetet who was called into the squad this week, and named in the team the day after his 22nd birthday.

Every player in the starting 15 is an experienced Super Rugby player and the calibre of the bench sets up a mouth-watering battle against the world’s 9th ranked Fijian team.

“We have a proud tradition of playing the passionate and highly skillful Fijians. We have relished every one of our 29 encounters, and I know that ranked in the world top 10, Fiji will be playing with more than one eye on their Rugby World Cup campaign.

“We have named a strong side to reflect what we think is going to be a great contest.

“We know we will need the strike power of our reserves and it’s exciting to think we have the likes of Nathan Harris, Pari Pari Parkinson, Marcel Renata, Whetu Douglas, Alex Nankivell and Bryn Hall sitting on the bench.

“We expect the conditions will be hot, but we know that many of these Super Rugby players have played in Fiji before so that experience will be invaluable.

“We’re wanting the boys to be direct in contact, and deliberate in their game decisions, so having someone like Ash lead them will be critical.

“We’re very fortunate that many of these lads have played together in this team, and it’s very exciting that we will get an opportunity to do it all over again in Rotorua next week.”

The Maori All Blacks have played Fiji 29 times with the Maori recording a 20-7-2 win/loss/draw tally. The Maori team are unbeaten against Fiji since 1957 including their last encounter in Suva four years ago. That day the Maori All Blacks sneaked ahead 27-26 to break Fijian hearts.

Māori All Blacks team to take on Fiji