- 10 debutants named, Bailyn and Zarn Sullivan named together for first time
- Māori All Blacks first test against Ireland since 2010
- New partner, Chemist Warehouse presents the Māori All Blacks v Ireland
The matchday 23 is as follows (Province/Super Rugby Club, and Iwi in brackets, debutants in bold).
1. Ollie Norris (Waikato / Chiefs / Ngāpuhi)
2. Kurt Eklund (Bay of Plenty / Blues / Ngāti Kahu)
3. Tyrel Lomax (Tasman / Hurricanes / Muaupoko / Ngāi Tūhoe)
4. Josh Dickson (Otago / Highlanders / Ngāi Tahu)
5. Isaia Walker-Leawere (Hawkes Bay/Hurricanes/Ngāti Porou)
6. Cameron Suafoa (North Harbour / Blues / Ngāpuhi)
7. Billy Harmon (Canterbury / Highlanders / Ngāi Tahu)
8. Cullen Grace (Canterbury /Crusaders / Ngāti Whakaue / Ngāti Raukawa)
9. Brad Weber© - Kāpene Paheko (Hawkes Bay / Chiefs / Ngāti Porou)
10. Josh Ioane (Otago /Chiefs / Te Rārawa)
11. Connor Garden-Bachop (Wellington / Highlanders / Ngāti Awa)
12. Rameka Poihipi (Canterbury / Chiefs / Ngāti Whakaue)
13. Billy Proctor (Wellington / Hurricanes / Ngāi Te Rangi / Ngāpuhi)
14. Shaun Stevenson (North Harbour / Chiefs / Ngāpuhi)
15. Zarn Sullivan (Auckland / Blues / Ngāti Kahungunu)
16. Tyrone Thompson (Hawkes Bay / Chiefs / Ngāi Tāmanuhiri / Ngāti Rangiwewehi)
17. Tamaiti Williams (Canterbury / Crusaders / Ngāpuhi)
18. Jermaine Ainsley (Otago /Highlanders / Te Rārawa / Te Arawa)
19. Maanaki Selby-Rickit (Bay Of Plenty / Highlanders / Ngāti Raukawa / Ngāti Tūwharetoa)
20. TK Howden (Manawatu / Hurricanes / Ngāi Tūhoe)
21. TJ Perenara© - Kāpene Paheko (Wellington / Hurricanes / Ngāti Rangitihi)
22. Ruben Love (Wellington / Hurricanes / Te Atiawa)
23. Bailyn Sullivan (Waikato / Hurricanes / Ngāti Kahungunu)
Māori All Blacks Head Coach Clayton McMillan has named a blend of experience and rising young talent with the selection of 10 debuting Māori All Blacks.
The Māori All Blacks starting pack features an experienced front row of loosehead prop Ollie Norris (Ngāpuhi), tighthead prop Tyrel Lomax (Muaupoko / Ngāi Tūhoe) and Kurt Eklund (Ngāti Kahu) at hooker. Debutants Tyrone Thompson (Ngāi Tāmanuhiri / Ngāti Rangiwewehi) and Jermaine Ainsley (Te Rārawa / Te Arawa) will provide impact off the bench, alongside Crusaders prop, Tamaiti Williams (Ngāpuhi).
Locking duo of Josh Dickson (Ngāi Tahu) and Isaia Walker-Leawere (Ngāti Porou) will start, with Highlanders lock Manaaki Selby-Rickit (Ngāti Raukawa / Ngāti Tūwharetoa) on the bench. Billy Harmon (Ngāti Tahu), debutants Cameron Suafoa ( Ngāpuhi ) and Cullen Grace (Ngāti Whakaue / Ngāti Raukawa) make up the starting loose forward trio, with TK Howden (Ngāi Tūhoe) on the bench.
In the backs, a strong Chiefs combination of Kāpene Paheko (Co-Captain) Brad Weber (Ngāti Porou) and Josh Ioane (Te Rārawa) will take the field at nine and ten. Debutant and Kāpene Paheko (Co-Captain) TJ Perenara (Ngāti Rangitihi) will provide impact from the bench.
The midfield sees Rameka Poihipi (Ngāti Whakaue) and Billy Proctor (Ngāi Te Rangi/Ngāpuhi) start at 12 and 13.
The back three is made up of Connor Garden-Bachop (Ngāti Awa) on the left wing, Shaun Stevenson (Ngāpuhi) on the right. A first for brothers Zarn and Bailyn Sullivan to be named in the same team, with Zarn Sullivan (Ngāti Kahungunu) starting at fullback, Hurricanes teammates and debutants Ruben Love (Te Atiawa) and Bailyn Sullivan (Ngāti Kahungunu) to be injected off the bench.
Māori All Blacks Head Coach Clayton McMillan (Ngāi Te Rangi/Ngāi Tamawhariua/Te Rangihouhiri) said: “We are anticipating a huge challenge from Ireland on Wednesday. They are a top tier, physical team, with a strong defence.”
McMillan excited for Weber and Perenara to co-captain the Māori All Blacks, is expecting their experience to be an asset across the team which has 10 debutants.
“Having Weber and Perenara as co-captains ensures there is always strong leadership on the field, especially against the unrelenting Ireland side. For our debut players, this will be a proud moment to not only represent this team, but their whānau and their iwi.”
“It will be a great opportunity for us to showcase Māori rugby internationally, it has been 12 years since the Māori All Blacks last played Ireland, McMillan said the team are excited to take the field in Kirikiriroa (Hamilton).”
New Zealand Rugby has also confirmed New Zealand’s fastest-growing pharmacy group Chemist Warehouse as the Māori All Blacks v Ireland naming rights partner for the series.
Chemist Warehouse New Zealand CEO, Azman Haroon, says he is delighted to announce the exciting partnership.
“Chemist Warehouse is proud to partner with New Zealand Rugby as the naming rights partner for Māori All Blacks v Ireland series. We couldn’t be happier to be involved with such a dynamic group of athletes while also engaging with the wider rugby community. We are committed to promoting a healthy and active lifestyle so all New Zealanders can get well, stay well and live well.”
“We care for all Kiwis and want to ensure we can be there to support the people of Aotearoa, which we have been on a mission to do from day one. And we’re doing that in many ways including offering free prescriptions in every pharmacy and community we operate in. Since opening, we’ve passed on $33 million in prescription savings to our customers.” Mr Haroon said.