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Māori All Blacks name two debutants in 25-man squad for two-match Samoa series

The Māori All Blacks have named two debutants amongst their 25-strong squad for next month's two-match series against Manu Samoa.

Māori All Blacks perform the haka prior to a match between Canada and Māori All Blacks. Source: Photosport

Chiefs prop Ollie Norris and Highlanders loose forward Josh Dickson are in line to earn their first caps after being named this morning.

Māori All Blacks coach Clayton McMillan said Norris and Dickson cemented their spots with impressive play this season.

"Josh has been consistent performer throughout both Super Rugby for the Highlanders and NPC for Otago," McMillan said.

"He is highly regarded for his ability in the line out and has an established relationship with Ash, Pari Pari and Manaaki. Having combinations like this will be important when preparing for a short campaign.

"Ollie has progressed through New Zealand age group teams and has transitioned really well into Super Rugby. He has a strong set piece, but stood out with his ball playing ability which will suit the style of play we will be hoping to achieve.

"Following the departure of Ross Wright and the experienced Ben May it allows us to grow our front row.”

It will be the first time the sides have met since 2008, with matches in Wellington (June 26) and an exciting double header alongside the All Blacks and Tonga at Mt Smart in Auckland (July 3).

Highlanders hooker Ash Dixon has once again been named kāpene (captain), having led the side in their past five campaigns, including last year’s 28-21 victory over Moana Pasifika in Hamilton.

"We introduced a number of new players into our environment last year so to have them back for this series is pleasing. I am confident that Ollie and Josh will transition from their Super clubs to our whānau with ease,” McMillan said.

"We only have a short build up, and we are expecting a fierce challenge from Samoa as they lead into their World Cup qualifying match. We know that will add an extra edge to the match and that is something we are looking forward to.

"Our players have an immense amount of pride pulling on the Māori All Blacks jersey and with that representing their whānau and iwi, and we know that our Samoan brothers feel the same. Playing alongside the All Blacks v Tonga match at Mt Smart will be a very special occasion"

Māori All Blacks Squad

Props:

Josh Hohneck Otago Ngāti Manuhiri / Ngāti Whātua
Pouri Rakete-Stones Hawkes Bay Ngāpuhi
Ollie Norris* Waikato Ngāpuhi
Marcel Renata Auckland Ngāti Whānaunga / Ngāi Takoto
Tamaiti Williams Canterbury Ngāpuhi

Hookers:

Ash Dixon (kāpene) Hawkes Bay Ngāti Tahinga
Kurt Eklund Bay of Plenty Ngāti Kahu

Locks:

Manaaki Selby-Rickit Bay Of Plenty Ngāti Raukawa / Ngāti Tūwharetoa
Isaia Walker-Leawere Hawkes Bay Ngāti Porou
Pari Pari Parkinson Tasman Te Whānau ā Apanui
Josh Dickson* Otago Ngāi Tahu

Loose Forwards:

Billy Harmon Canterbury Ngāi Tahu
Reed Prinsep Canterbury Te Rārawa
Whetukamokamo Douglas Bay of Plenty Ngāti Porou / Ngāti Whakaue

Half Backs:

Bryn Hall North Harbour Ngāti Ranginui
Sam Nock Northland Ngāpuhi

First five-eighths

Otere Black Bay of Plenty Ngāi Tuhoe/Te Whānau ā Apanui/Ngāti Tūwharetoa
Josh Ioane Otago Te Rārawa

Midfield

Billy Proctor Wellington Ngai Te Rangi / Ngāpuhi
Quinn Tupaea Waikato Waikato
Alex Nankivell Tasman Ngāpuhi

Outside Backs

Sean Wainui Bay of Plenty Ngāi Tuhoe / Ngā Arikikaiputahi / Ngāti Porou
Shaun Stevenson North Harbour Ngāpuhi
Jonah Lowe Hawkes Bay Ngāti Pikiao
Kaleb Trask Bay of Plenty Ngāpuhi

*Debutant