Bateman to lead Maori All Blacks

Tue, 22 Oct 2013 09:05
We have experienced campaigners like Hika Elliott and Piri Weepu

Hurricanes centre Tim Bateman has been named as the Maori All Black captain for their upcoming tour of North America.

26 year old Tim Bateman takes over the captaincy from Tanerau Latimer who was unavailable as he is due to have surgery on a long standing injury.

Coach Colin Cooper said he was pleased to take a squad boasting an exciting mix of experience and young talent.

"I'm really excited about this tour and the opportunities it gives young players to press for higher honours, as well as the chance to honour the proud legacy of the teams that have gone before.

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

"We have experienced campaigners like Hika Elliott and Piri Weepu as well as young up and comers like Ihaia West and Liam Squire so the side has great balance.

"While our time together is short, we are very determined to build on our international record and make the most of the matches against Canada and the United States.

"These are great times for the Maori All Blacks. We going to a part of the world which offers huge opportunities for New Zealand rugby and for our national teams to connect with more fans," he added.

Cooper said that while it was disappointing for Latimer to miss out, he has every confidence in Bateman's leadership abilities.

"I am thrilled for Tim to take over the leadership duties - 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 squad: Hika Elliott, Corey Flynn, Ben Afeaki, Nick Barrett, Chris Eves, Kane Hames, Joe Royal, Jarrad Hoeata, Luke Katene, Joe Wheeler, Luke Braid, Shane Christie, Elliot Dixon, Liam Squire, Blade Thomson, Jamieson Gibson-Park, Piri Weepu, Ihaia West, Tim Bateman, Charlie Ngatai, Jackson Willison, Kurt Baker, Zac Guildford, Robbie Robinson, Andre Taylor, Matt Proctor