Maori bring in debutants

Wed, 09 Nov 2016 17:05
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Maori All Blacks will field no less than five debutants after head coach Colin Cooper rang the changes for their match against Munster at Thomond Park on Friday.

Cooper made seven changes in total, handing newcomers Reed Prinsep, Billy Guyton and Ambrose Curtis a spot in the starting XV while All Blacks Under-20 captain Leni Apisai and Waikato skipper Whetu Douglas will make their debuts off the bench.
Cooper was satisfied with the victory over the United States but is looking forward to the unique experience of playing in Limerick.

"Our exit plays [against USA] were particularly good and I thought that was the edge that we had over them. We played a lot of rugby in their half but I think that Munster, being another physical pack, particularly at lineout driving time, we will want to play the game in their half.

"We're expecting a lot of physicality down the back so we'll be looking to our bench to make an impact. This match is a huge game. I think every player at some stage in their career would like to play Munster in Limerick.  

"We certainly saw the passion of the people here and the stadium being sold out, Ireland beating the All Blacks at the weekend - it's got everyone pretty hummed so it will be a mighty contest," Cooper said.

Expecting the Irish to get behind their team, Cooper said he was expecting some intense noise at Thomond Park Stadium.

"The crowd is like an extra, the 24th person. They are very vocal and very passionate so it will be a challenge for us.

"I've always admired Munster from afar. The people here are pretty passionate and certainly people here know New Zealand and they know these players - they are very respectful people.

"This game is going to be special and now I'm going to be at the coalface of taking on Munster, it will be a great experience and opportunity to lead such good men like we've got in this group," he added.

Maori All Blacks: 15 Marty McKenzie, 14 Ambrose Curtis, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Tim Bateman, 11 James Lowe, 10 Otere Black, 9 Billy Guyton, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Shane Christie, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Leighton Price, 3 Ben May, 2 Ash Dixon (captain), 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Whetu Douglas, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Jason Emery.

Date: Friday, November 11
Venue: Thomond Park, Limerick
Kick-off: 19.30 (Saturday, November 12, 08.30 NZDT)
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (England)
Assistant referees: Frank Murphy (Ireland), Leo Colgan (Ireland)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)