Maori All Blacks

Flying Fijians to begin World Cup prep against Māori All Blacks

The ninth-ranked Fijians, who stunned France in Paris six months ago, will host the Māori in Suva on July 13 with the return match in Rotorua a week later.

Fiji Rugby chief executive John O'Connor was delighted to secure two competitive mid-year games, which he said isn't always easy to achieve for the Pacific nations.

"It is indeed a timely boost for the Flying Fijians as we will prepare for the Rugby World Cup in Japan later in the year," he said.

Damian McKenzie to start at first five for Maori

Coach Colin Cooper has named All Blacks Akira Ioane, Tawera Kerr Barlow and Rieko Ioane in his starting fifteen along with Nehe Milner Skudder.

Hawke's Bay's Ash Dixon will captain the side which features just two new caps in reserves, Bryn Hall and Rob Thompson.

"We've named a strong group who all have good clarity on how we want to play this match against the Lions. We feel Damian will suit the game plan that we want to play, from the number 10 position, "

Cooper said he was pleased with the way the players had connected throughout the week.

Maori All Blacks beat Harlequins

RNZ reports the Maori lead 26-3 at half time after scoring four tries to James Lowe, who got two, and one each to Shane Christie and Sean Wainui.

Ihaia West kicked the rest of the points.

The English club scored their only try just after half time.

The Maori All Blacks beat the USA 54-7 and lost to Munster 27-14 in their first two games.

Man of the match, the Maori number eight, Akira Ioane says after the loss to Munster they wanted to re-gather their feet and move forward and he believes they showed that in this game.


Six new caps named in Maori All Blacks

RNZ reports among them is the New Zealand under-20 captain, Wellington's Leni Apisai.

Māori All Blacks Head Coach Colin Cooper (Ngāti Pūkenga/Ngāti Porou) believes his squad has a good blend of "very wise heads, and a special crop of new talent."

"This team continues to be an important opportunity for players looking to push for higher honours.