29 Oct 2012

Ripia gets rugby lifeline from the Maori All Blacks

4:34 pm on 29 October 2012

The Maori All Blacks coach Jamie Joseph's sprung a surprise by throwing a rugby lifeline to the disgraced former Hurricanes and Western Force back Willie Ripia.

Ripia is the only specialist first five-eighths named by Joseph for next month's three-match whistlestop tour of England.

Ripia quit the Western Force this year after being caught on CCTV footage allegedly stealing from his team-mates to feed a gambling addiction.

Joseph says Ripia will thrive in the Maori team environment and they wouldn't have picked him if they didn't believe he would do the job.

He says one of the reasons the team exists is to promote their players and their people and they do that from all sorts of different starting points.

Joseph's named Tanerau Latimer as captain of the Maori All Blacks. They play Leicester Tigers, a Championship XV and Canada, at Oxford University - all in the space of 10 days.