Perenara to make Māori All Blacks debut

TJ Perenara and Brad Weber. Photo: Getty
TJ Perenara and Brad Weber. Photo: Getty
Unwanted All Blacks TJ Perenara and Brad Weber, along with 11 debutants, have been named in the Māori All Blacks squad to play Ireland in the upcoming two-match series.

It will be Perenara's first appearance for the Māori All Blacks. The other debutants are Highlanders prop Jermaine Ainsley, Chiefs hooker Tyrone Thompson, Hurricanes loose forward Caleb Delaney, Blues loosie Cameron Suafoa, Hurricanes first-five Reuben Love, Hurricanes midfielder Bailyn Sullivan, and outside backs Zarn Sullivan, Josh Moorby and Connor Garden-Bachop, of the Blues, Hurricanes and Highlanders respectively.

The captain will be announced at a later date. It will be the first time the Māori All Blacks have played Ireland since 2010. The first match will be at FMG Stadium Waikato on Wednesday, June 29, at 7.05pm, and their second match at SKY Stadium Wellington on Tuesday, July 12, at 7.05pm. 

The presence of two former Māori All Blacks in the Ireland side, Jamison Gibson-Park (Ngāti Porou/Ngāi Tai) and James Lowe (Ngāpuhi/Ngāi Te Rangi) will add another interesting element to the matches.

Māori All Blacks coach Clayton McMillan is looking forward to taking on the Irish.

"We are expecting a fierce challenge from Ireland, to be playing a tier one nation at home in Aotearoa has been long awaited. The squad named is a mix of experienced players who know how to perform at this level, and players that bring fresh perspective and energy to the game.

"We are lucky to have three experienced All Blacks in the squad in TJ Perenara (Ngāti Rangitihi), Brad Weber (Ngāti Porou) and Tyrel Lomax (Muaupoko / Ngāi Tūhoe).

"I'm looking forward to the passion and knowledge they will bring. This is also a great opportunity for our 11 new caps, there is immense pride in pulling on the Māori All Blacks jersey and with that representing their heritage, their whānau, and their country.

"These two fixtures against Ireland will allow players to showcase what they have and put their best foot forward on an international stage."

The Māori All Blacks have played Ireland on just two previous occasions, the most famous being the New Zealand Natives 13-4 win at Lansdowne Road in Dublin in 1888.

The only other match between the two sides was in 2010 at Rotorua International Stadium where the Māori All Blacks won 31-28.

Māori All Blacks:

Props

Tamaiti Williams Ngāpuhi Canterbury Crusaders

Ollie Norris Ngāpuhi Waikato Chiefs

Marcel Renata Ngāti Whānaunga / Ngāi Takoto Auckland Blues

Jermaine Ainsley* Te Rārawa / Te Arawa Otago Highlanders

Tyrel Lomax Muaupoko / Ngāi Tūhoe Tasman Hurricanes

Hookers

Leni Apisai Ngāti Awa Auckland

Kurt Eklund Ngāti Kahu Bay of Plenty Blues

Tyrone Thompson* Ngāi Tāmanuhiri / Ngāti Rangiwewehi Hawke's Bay Chiefs

Locks

Isaia Walker-Leawere Ngāti Porou Hawke's Bay Hurricanes

Manaaki Selby-Rickit Ngāti Raukawa / Ngāti Tūwharetoa Bay of Plenty Highlanders

Josh Dickson Ngāi Tahu Otago Highlanders

Loose forwards

Reed Prinsep Te Rārawa Canterbury Hurricanes

Caleb Delany* Ngāti Tūwharetoa Wellington Hurricanes

Billy Harmon Ngāi Tahu Canterbury Highlanders

Te Kamaka (TK) Howden* Ngāi Tūhoe Manawatū Hurricanes

Cameron Suafoa* Ngāpuhi Auckland Blues

Half backs

TJ Perenara* Ngāti Rangitihi Wellington Hurricanes

Brad Weber Ngāti Porou Hawke's Bay Chiefs

First-five

Josh Ioane Te Rārawa Otago Chiefs

Ruben Love* Te Atiawa Wellington Hurricanes

Midfield

Alex Nankivell Ngāti Pikiao Tasman Chiefs

Rameka Poihipi Ngāti Whakaue Canterbury Chiefs

Billy Proctor Ngāi Te Rangi / Ngāpuhi Wellington Hurricanes

Bailyn Sullivan* Ngāti Kahungunu Waikato Hurricanes

Outside Backs

Connor Garden-Bachop* Ngāti Awa Wellington Highlanders

Josh Moorby* Ngāti Maniapoto Northland Hurricanes

Zarn Sullivan* Ngāti Kahungunu Auckland Blues

Shaun Stevenson Ngāpuhi North Harbour Chiefs

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