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Akira Ioane to start in Māori All Blacks' Test against Fiji

Akira Ioane will have another chance to convince All Blacks selectors of his place in the upcoming Rugby World Cup squad, named at number eight for the New Zealand Māori against Fiji this weekend.

Left out of coach Steve Hansen's plans for the first two Tests of the Rugby Championship at least, 24-year old Ioane will anchor the scrum in this weekend's clash in Suva, before the return fixture in Rotorua the following week.

Elsewhere, the Māori have been bolstered in the starting side by All Blacks Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Tom Franklin and Tyrel Lomax, while Nathan Harris and Bryn Hall will start on the bench.

Hooker Ash Dixon will captain the side, starting ahead of Harris.

NZ Māori: 15. Fletcher Smith, 14. Shaun Stevenson, 13. Rob Thompson, 12. Teihorangi Walden, 11. Sean Wainui, 10. Otere Black, 9. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8. Akira Ioane, 7. Mitch Karpik, 6. Reed Prinsep, 5. Tom Franklin, 4. Isaia Walker-Leawere, 3. Tyrel Lomax, 2. Ash Dixon (c), 1. Ross Wright.

Replacements: 16. Nathan Harris, 17. Haereiti Hetet, 18. Marcel Renata, 19. Pari Pari Parkinson, 20. Whetukamokamo Douglas, 21. Bryn Hall, 22. Alex Nankivell, 23. Jordan Hyland.

Akira Ioane looks to take on the defence during the Super Rugby match, Waratahs  v Blues, Brookvale Oval, Sydney, Australia, 5th May 2018. Copyright photo: David Neilson / www.photosport.nz
Blues forward Akira Ioane looks to take on the Waratahs defence. Source: Photosport


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