Eighteen Super Rugby players headline Maori All Blacks squad

22 Oct 2013
Eighteen Super Rugby players headline Maori All Blacks squad

The 26-strong Maori All Blacks squad to take on Canada and the United States next month ​had been named by New Zealand Maori Rugby Board Chairman Wayne Peters.

The side will be captained by Hurricanes back Tim Bateman, who takes over from long ​standing captain and Chiefs flanker Tanerau Latimer.

Latimer will have surgery on an arm injury which had caused him concern during the 2013 Super Rugby season, and will return next campaign with the defending champions.

​The squad departs for North America on Monday 28 October and will play Canada and USA, the latter a historic match in Philadelphia.

The team features 18 Super Rugby players, well spread around the New Zealand Conference.

Maori All Blacks Super Rugby representatives (based on TBC 2014 squads)

Five Chiefs (Hika Elliot, Ben Afeaki, Robbie Robinson, Charlie Ngatai, Liam Squire)

Four Blues (Piri Weepu, Jamison Gibson-Park, Luke Braid, Jackson Willison)

Three Crusaders (Corey Flynn, Zac Guildford, Nick Barrett)

Four Highlanders (Jarrad Hoeata, Joe Wheeler, Elliot Dixon, Shane Christie)

Two Hurricanes (Tim Bateman, Andre Taylor)

There are also six former All Blacks in the team - headlined by Weepu - and 11 players who played for the Maori All Blacks last year.

While head coach and the second longest serving Super Rugby coach in history, Colin Cooper, said the all-important Maori culture would be a critical focus, it was noted that he and assistant coach Tabai Matson had consulted extensively with the All Blacks selectors.

“New Zealand Rugby has identified the Maori All Blacks as a high performance team and our selections reflect that," Cooper said.

This means that younger players, such as the talented Ihaia West, who has taken the Hawke's Bay magpies to the ITM Cup Championship Final, were being given their first taste of international competition.

Hurricanes centre and 26-year-old Tim Bateman will lead the team with the full support of his coach.

“I am thrilled for Tim to take over the leadership duties," Cooper said.

"He is a mature young man who leads by example. He knows the team culture really well having played for us in recent years so he is a great fit.

“I’m disappointed for Tanerau, but fully respect his reasons to step away for this tour.”

Maori All Blacks for 2013 

NAME - IWI - PROVINCE

FORWARDS 

Hookers 
Hika Elliott  Ngāti Awa  Counties Manukau
Corey Flynn  Ngāi Tahu  Canterbury

Props 
Ben Afeaki  Ngāti Awa  North Harbour
Nick Barrett  Ngāti Kahungunu   Southland
Chris Eves  Tainui  Manawatu
Kane Hames  Ngāi Tuhoe/Ngāti Porou  Bay of Plenty
Joe Royal  Te Arawa / Ngāti Whātua I Orakei  Bay of Plenty

Locks 
Jarrad Hoeata  Ngāti Kahungunu / Ngāi Tuhoe  Taranaki
Luke Katene  Ngāti Toa  Canterbury
Joe Wheeler  Ngāi Tahu  Tasman
 
Loose forwards 
Luke Braid  Ngāti Tumutumu  Auckland
Shane Christie  Ngāti Kuri  Tasman
Elliot Dixon  Ngāpuhi  Southland
Liam Squire  Ngāi Tahu  Tasman
Blade Thomson  Ngāpuhi   Taranaki

BACKS 

Halfbacks 
Jamieson Gibson-Park  Ngāti Porou / Ngāi Tai  Taranaki
Piri Weepu  Te Whakatōhea / Ngāi Tahu  Auckland

First five-eighth 
Ihaia West  Ngati Kahungunu / Ngāti Porou  Hawke's Bay

Midfield backs 
Tim Bateman  Ngāi Tahu  Wellington
Charlie Ngatai  Ngāti Porou/Te Whanau-a-Apanui  Wellington
Jackson Willison  Ngāti Mahuta  Waikato

Outside backs 
Kurt Baker  Ngāpuhi  Taranaki
Zac Guildford  Ngāti Kahunganu/Ngāi Tahu  Hawke's Bay
Robbie Robinson  Ngāti Tuwharetoa  Southland
Andre Taylor  Ngāti Tuwharetoa/Ngāti Kahungunu  Taranaki
Matt Proctor  Ngāi te Rangi/Ngāpuhi  Welliington