11 Jul 2015

Four brothers in Māori All Blacks XV

7:02 am on 11 July 2015

Two sets of brothers feature in the Māori All Blacks starting XV named to play Fiji in Suva on Saturday, while there are nine new caps in total.

Brothers Akira and Rieko Loane, and Marty and Damian McKenzie.


Charlie Ngatai will captain the side, fresh from his All Blacks debut against Samoa.

The new caps include the Ioane brothers, Akira and Rieko, and Tawera Kerr-Barlow, who is returning from a long injury-enforced break. Chiefs back Damian McKenzie will also make his debut at fullback alongside his brother Marty, making for a rare set of four brothers in the Māori All Blacks jersey.

Damian McKenzie

Damian McKenzie's had a good debut in Super Rugby, now he gets a shot as a Māori All Black Photo: PHOTOSPORT

There are also six players from the Hurricanes and Highlanders who appeared in Saturday's Super Rugby final.

Coach Colin Cooper said the short assembly time had been challenging for the squad, but he was pleased with how quickly the players had gelled as a unit.

"This squad has developed a great spirit very quickly and even though we had a long journey to Suva, we're in good shape. We're really looking forward to training today and adapting to the hotter conditions here."

Māori All Blacks coach Colin Cooper

Māori All Blacks coach Colin Cooper Photo: Photosport

"We have a good mix in the team to take on Fiji. There are players who have come out of the Super Rugby finals series in great nick and those who have had a bit more of a layoff so I think that will work well for us. It's great that we are also able to field some of the exciting, young players we've brought into this team and I know Saturday will be a very proud day for them."

"We're certainly fit and raring to go against what we see is a very strong Fijian team so we'll need to be at our best to honour our record against international teams."

Māori All Blacks:

1 Joe Moody * (Canterbury) Ngāi Tahu

2 Ash Dixon (Hawke's Bay) Ngāti Tahinga

3 Ben May (Wellington) Ngāti Maniapoto / Tainui

4 Jacob Skeen * (Waikato) Ngāpuhi

5 Hayden Triggs (North Harbour) Ngāti Kahungunu

6 Akira Ioane * (Auckland) Ngāpuhi / Te Whānau ā Apanui

7 Mitchell Crosswell (Taranaki) Ngāti Porou

8 Blade Thomson (Taranaki) Ngāpuhi

9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow * (Waikato) Waikato / Ngāti Maniapoto

10 Marty McKenzie (Taranaki) Ngāti Tūwharetoa / Ngāti Tahinga

11 Kurt Baker (Taranaki) Ngāpuhi

12 Charlie Ngatai (Taranaki) Ngāti Porou / Te Whanau-ā-Apanui

13 Matt Proctor (Wellington) Ngāpuhi / Ngāiterangi

14 Rieko Ioane * (Auckland) Ngāpuhi / Te Whānau ā Apanui

15 Damian McKenzie * (Waikato) Ngāti Tūwharetoa / Ngāti Tahinga

16 Quentin MacDonald (Tasman) Rangitane

17 Brendon Edmonds (Hawke's) Bay Ngāti Kahungunu

18 Josh Hohneck * (Waikato) Ngāti Whānaunga / Ngāti Whātua / Ngāti Wai

19 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis* (Manawatu) Ngāpuhi

20 Elliot Dixon (Southland) Ngāpuhi

21 Jamison Gibson-Park (Taranaki) Ngāti Porou / Ngāi Tai

22 Otere Black * (Manawatu) Ngāi Tuhoe / Te Whānau-ā-Apanui / Ngāti Tūwharetoa

23 Jason Emery (Manawatu) Ngāti Haua / Ngāti Maniapoto

Māori All Blacks 2015 matches:

- Saturday 11 July v Fiji, ANZ National Stadium, Suva. Kickoff 3pm

- Saturday 18 July v New Zealand Barbarians, Eden Park, Auckland. Kickoff 7.35pm