MT SMART DOUBLE HEADER: New Zealand coaches Maori and Samoa have named their teams for their clash in Auckland on Saturday.
The match marks the start of the first test of the year in New Zealand – when the All Blacks face Tonga in the main match.
Maori coach Clayton Macmillan has appointed an impressive team to challenge Manu Samoa.
The side will welcome the return of the towering lock-up Pari Pari Parkinson and the release of a loose-fitting Oli Norris head brace.
In the front row, Tamiti Williams will start with a loose brace, with Norris covered on the bench.
Experienced activists, Josh Honk and Ash Dixon, will complete the first row.
Blues whore Kurt Eklund and teammate, head brace Marcel Renata are unchanged on the bench.
The Highlanders will start by shutting down the Manaki duo Selby-Reckitt and Parkinson’s, with Josh Dixon and Isaiah Walker-Leah to make an impact on the bench.
An unchanged front combination of Red Principe and Billy Harmon will take off with Wetkamokamo Douglas in eighth.
In the back, Sam Nock is given the opportunity to showcase his talent for scrumhalf. Nock will unite with experienced flyhalf Otere Black.
Scrumhalf Bryn Hall will provide a competitive advantage when injected into the game off the bench.
The hard-working midfield side of Alex Nankeville and Billy Proctor will line up once again to start. The duo will cover Ramika Boyhibe, who will be given the opportunity to showcase his craft on the bench.
Sean Wainui retains his starting position on the left wing, while teammate Jonah Lowe starts on the right.
Turning back, Josh Ewan moves up to 15th, starting at linebacker, with Chiefs back Shaun Stephenson ably supporting to provide cover for the back three, named in jersey number 23.
And Hanau 🖤
– All Blacks (AllBlacks) July 1, 2021
“We wanted to give everyone in our 26-man squad the opportunity to wear the Maori shirt,” said Maori coach Macmillan.
“This weekend Ole, Barry and Ramika get that opportunity.
“It was a special time for the Norris brothers. Last week Jacob showed up and this week it’s his younger brother who gets the chance. Ole has had a huge hit in the Chiefs’ Super Rugby campaign, and this is his chance to take it to the next level,” said Macmillan.
Macmillan is excited about Parkinson’s return in a Mauri All Blacks jersey, and expects his towering presence to be a feature in the park.
“Barry, I last played in a Maori All Blacks shirt, was when the team faced Fiji in Rotorua. He was phenomenal in that match, and he made a huge presence against Fiji and we are looking for a similar match from him on Saturday.”
The Maori team last played the All Blacks at Smart Mountain Stadium when they hosted Manu Samoa in 1996.
Saturday’s game will be the 125th international match for Maori All Blacks.
It will be a special occasion for Black who will move to Japan at the end of the season. Macmillan said Black is an exceptionally talented Maori rugby player.
“His knowledge of Tikanga Maori, his passion for the shirt and the contribution to this team is immense. It will be a special occasion on Saturday for Oteri Wanao, and we know that he and his team want to have an unforgettable conference.”
The Maori were too strong for a Samoa team that made their debut since the 2019 World Cup, winning their first meeting 35-10 in Wellington last Saturday. They will likely be very powerful again.
@rugby365com: Maori with 18 points
Maori: 15 Josh John, 14 Jonah Lowe, 13 Stacey Ellie, 12 Alex Nankeville, 11 Sean Winoy, 10 Autry Black, 9 Sam Knock, 8 Wetukamokamo Douglas, 7 Billy Harmon, 6 Red Prince, 5 Barry Barry Parkinson, 4 Manaki Selby Rickett, 3 Josh Honeck, 2 Ash Dixon (captain), 1 Williams’ son.
Alternatives: 16 Kurt Ecklund, 17 Olly Norris, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Isaiah Walker Lauer, 20 Josh Dixon, 21 Brian Hall, 22 Ramika Boyhibe, 23 Shawn Stevenson.
Manu Samoa: 15 Ah See Tuala, 14 Elizabeth Alofipo, 13 Losi Philip, 12 Henry Taefu, 11 Neria Fomai, 10 Rodney Iona, 9 Auvasa Falealii, 8 Henry Time-Stower, 7 Alamanga Motuga, 6 Samuel Slade, 5 Theodore McFarland, 4 Benjamin Nee -Ne, 3 Michael Alalatuwa, 2 Ray Niuya, 1 Albert Anna.
Alternatives: 16 JB Sauni, 17 Titi Tuimuga, 18 Kalulu Tuiluma, 19 Teofilo Paulo, 20 Genesis Mamaia Limalu, 21 Jonathan Tomatini, 22 D’Angelo Liwaila, 23 Joe Perez.
Date: Saturday 3 July
Place: Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Starting: 16.30 (17.30 Samoa time, 04.30 GMT)
Rule: Mike Fraser
Assistant Referees: Brendon Becquerel, Paul Williams
TMO: Shane McDermott