Nehe Milner-Skudder, Akira Ioane headline inexperienced Maori All Blacks squad for Americas tour

The Māori All Blacks' squad to tour North and South America next month has been named with five players named yesterday's All Blacks squad also being selected this morning.

Head Coach Clayton McMillan has selected a 27-strong squad for the three-Test tour with five players featured in the All Blacks' wider Japan squad featuring in his team.

Prop Tyrel Lomax, lock Jackson Hemopo, halfback Bryn Hall, midfielder Matt Proctor and winger Nehe Milner-Skudder will all join the the team later for the South American leg of the tour after the complete their commitments in Japan.

Akira Ioane also features in the squad after failing to make the cut for the All Blacks' 51-man squad.

McMillan said the departure of some experienced players offshore, and dual duties with the All Blacks, created an opportunity for several new faces.

"We’re looking at almost 10 debutants which you would expect after some players have moved on," he said.

"Some of these debutants have had incredibly strong seasons with their provinces in Mitre 10 Cup, and their Super Rugby clubs, so we are excited to see what they will bring on this tour."

There are nine new faces in the squad; hooker Robbie Abel, locks Isaia Walker-Leawere and Pari Pari Parkinson, loose forwards Hoani Matenga, Billy Harmon, and Mitchell Karpik, first five-eighth Joshua Ioane, midfielder Matthew Landsown and outside back Jonah Lowe.

McMillan said they have all proved earned their spots with their recent form.

"Josh Ioane was with the Highlanders, and with Otago he demonstrates he is at the forefront of all the action, including playing an integral role in Otago’s successful Ranfurly Shield challenge, and, like Otere (Black) who has been strong for Manawatū, he is very accurate with his goalkicking.

"Pari Pari has to be the tallest lock running around in New Zealand rugby at the moment and he’s been a stand out for Tasman.

"We’ve got a great mix in the loose forwards – including the experienced Reed Prinsep and Akira Ioane who will bring explosive power to the loose forward mix. Along with the new guys (Hoani Matenga, Billy Harmon and Mitchell Karpik) they’re a young group but they’ve got some physicality."

The squad is assembling next week in the Bay of Plenty before their departure from Auckland International Airport next Sunday 28 October.

Their first Test is on Sunday November 3 against USA at 12pm NZT in Chicago.

Maori All Blacks perform the Haka during the Maori All Blacks v NZ Barbarians match at Eden Park in Auckland Source: Photosport


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