Maori All Blacks squad announced for Japan 2024

Maori All Blacks squad announced for Japan 2024

Māori All Blacks selectors of Ross Filipo (Muaūopko), Roger Randle (Ngāti Awa), Greg Feek (Ngāti Kahugunu) and Jamie Joseph (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Rārua, Rangitāne) have announced a 28-strong squad ahead of the team’s two-match series against Japan XV in Japan.

Fresh from their DHL Super Rugby Pacific win, seven Blues players have been rewarded for their form, with Corey Evans (Te Aupouri, Ngāti Kahu), Cole Forbes (Ngāti Awa) and Laghlan McWhannell (Ngāti Kahungunu) selected for the first time. Marcel Renata (Ngāti Whanaunga, Ngāi Takoto) and Cameron Suafoa (Ngāpuhi) have also earned selection following a remarkable season with the Blues.

Crusaders stalwart Joe Moody (Ngāi Tahu) will don the Māori All Blacks jersey for the first time since 2015. Moody will add to an already formidable forward pack alongside Billy Harmon (Ngāi Tahu) Isaia Walker-Leawere (Ngāti Porou) and Pouri Rakete-Stones (Ngāpuhi) who represent a wealth of experience, leadership and guidance in the squad.

Among the debutants is midfielder Daniel Rona (Te Ātiawa) and Highlanders loose forward Nikora Broughton (Ngā Rauru, Ngāti Ruanui). The elusive first five eighth duo of Rivez Reihana (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) and Taha Kemara (Te Whānau a Apanui, Te Whakatōhea) will also bring plenty of speed and accuracy to the back line in their first campaign.

Māori All Blacks Head Coach Ross Filipo said it is an exciting time for all those involved.

“The DHL Super Rugby Pacific campaign provided us with a solid platform to select from as the competitiveness shown by the players is exactly what we need against Japan XV. Our new players have been rewarded for their consistency and it’s great to see the return of many others to this environment.  

“I’d like to congratulate every player in our squad on their selection. Playing for this team is a huge honour and this is an opportunity for us all to represent our whānau, heritage and country on the world stage,” Filipo said.

New Zealand Māori Rugby Board Chair, Professor Dame Farah Palmer (Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato) said the Māori All Blacks serve a greater purpose than rugby.

“One of our pou in the New Zealand Māori Rugby strategy is Angitutanga - uplifting Māori lives. We want Māori to be successful as Māori and to pursue excellence and we know they will represent our culture with mana on the international stage.

“On behalf of the Māori Rugby Board I’d like to congratulate every player and their whānau on making the Māori All Blacks. We are immensely proud of you and cannot wait to support you all in this campaign,” Palmer said.

The squad was announced in a live broadcast segment on Whakaata Māori this morning with support from New Zealand Māori Rugby Board representative Rob Clark (Waikato), who was accompanied by Māori All Blacks Cultural Advisor Te Wehi Wright (Ngāruahine, Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Whitikaupeka, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa, Ngāti Raukawa).

The Māori All Blacks have assembled in Auckland to start their campaign preparations before heading to Japan on Wednesday, 26 June.

They will play their first match at Tokyo’s historic Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium on Saturday, 29 June. The fixture will be presented with English commentary LIVE on Sky Sport 1, te reo Māori commentary on Sky Sport 2 and also on Whakaata Māori (free-to-air).

The following match on Saturday, 6 July at Toyota Stadium will have English commentary on Sky Sport 2, te reo Māori commentary on Sky Sport 3 and Whakaata Māori (free-to-air). Sky Open will also have free-to-air delayed coverage of both matches.

Tickets can be purchased from Japan Rugby here.

The 28-strong squad is as follows with (iwi, province and Super Rugby club).

Māori All Blacks Squad 2024: *denotes new caps

Benet Kumeroa* (Te Atihaunui a Pāpārangi/Bay of Plenty/Hurricanes)
Joe Moody (Ngāi Tahu/Canterbury/Crusaders)
Marcel Renata (Ngāti Whanaunga, Ngāi Takoto/Auckland/Blues)
Ollie Norris (Ngāpuhi/Waikato/Chiefs)
Pouri Rakete-Stones (Ngāpuhi/Hawke’s Bay/Hurricanes)

Kurt Eklund (Ngāti Kahu/Bay of Plenty/Blues)
Tyrone Thompson (Ngāti Kahungunu/Chiefs)

Isaia Walker-Leawere (Ngāti Porou/Hawke’s Bay/Hurricanes)
Laghlan McWhannell* (Ngāti Kahungunu/Waikato/Blues)  
Max Hicks (Ngāti Ranginui/Tasman/Highlanders)
Tahlor Cahill* (Ngāpuhi/Canterbury/Crusaders)

Loose forwards
Billy Harmon (Ngāi Tahu/Canterbury/Highlanders)
Cameron Suafoa (Ngāpuhi/North Harbour/Blues)
Cullen Grace (Ngāti Whakaue/Canterbury/Crusaders)
Nikora Broughton* (Ngā Rauru, Ngāti Ruanui/Bay of Plenty/Highlanders)
Te Kamaka Howden (Tūhoe/Manawatū/Hurricanes)

Half Backs
Sam Nock (Ngāpuhi/Northland/Blues)
Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāti Pikiao, Tūhourangi, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Awa/Bay of Plenty/Chiefs)

First five-eighths
Rivez Reihana* (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa/Northland/Crusaders)
Taha Kemara* (Te Whānau a Apanui, Te Whakatōhea/Waikato/Crusaders)

Bailyn Sullivan (Ngāti Kahungunu/Waikato/Hurricanes)
Corey Evans* (Te Aupouri, Ngāti Kahu/Northland/Blues)
Daniel Rona* (Te Ātiawa/Taranaki/Chiefs)
Rameka Poihipi (Ngāti Whakaue/Canterbury/Chiefs)
Quinn Tupaea (Ngaati Tiipa, Ngaati Amaru, Waikato/Waikato/Chiefs)

Outside Backs
Cole Forbes* (Ngāti Awa/Bay of Plenty/Blues)
Josh Moorby (Ngāi Maniapoto/Waikato/Hurricanes)
Tana Tuhakaraina* (Ngāti Hauā/Waikato/Chiefs)

Unavailable for selection due to injury:
Manaaki Selby-Rickit (Ngāti Raukawa)
Shaun Stevenson (Ngāpuhi)
Jared Profitt (Ngāti Porou)

Māori All Blacks v Japan XV
Saturday, 29 June, 10.00pm NZST (7.00pm JST)
Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium, Tokyo

Māori All Blacks v Japan XV
Saturday, 6 July, 9.00pm NZST (6.00pm JST)
Toyota Stadium, Toyota 

Saturday, 29 June, 10.00pm NZST (7.00pm JST)
English commentary: Sky Sport 1
Te reo Māori commentary: Sky Sport 2 & Whakaata Māori (free-to-air)
Sky Open: Delayed coverage

Saturday, 6 July, 9.00pm NZST (6.00pm JST)
English commentary: Sky Sport 2
Te reo Māori commentary: Sky Sport 3 & Whakaata Māori (free-to-air)
Sky Open: Delayed coverage

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