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Māori All Blacks named to face Japan XV

Updated: Jun 27

Bailyn Sullivan (Ngāti Kahungunu/Waikato/Hurricanes is named as a midfield back for the Māori All Blacks matches against Japan
Bailyn Sullivan (Ngāti Kahungunu/Waikato/Hurricanes is named as a midfield back for the Māori All Blacks matches against Japan PHOTO: LINTOTT PHOTOGRAPHY

Māori All Blacks selectors of Ross Filipo (Muaūopko), Roger Randle (Ngāti Awa), Greg Feek (Ngāti Kahugunu) and Jamie Joseph (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Rārua, Rangitāne) have announced a 28-strong squad ahead of the team’s two-match series against Japan XV in Japan.

Fresh from their Super Rugby Pacific win, seven Blues players have been rewarded for their form, with Corey Evans (Te Aupouri, Ngāti Kahu), Cole Forbes (Ngāti Awa) and Laghlan McWhannell (Ngāti Kahungunu) selected for the first time. Marcel Renata (Ngāti Whanaunga, Ngāi Takoto) and Cameron Suafoa (Ngāpuhi) have also earned selection following a remarkable season with the Blues.


Crusaders stalwart Joe Moody (Ngāi Tahu) will don the Māori All Blacks jersey for the first time since 2015. Moody will add to an already formidable forward pack alongside Billy Harmon (Ngāi Tahu) Isaia Walker-Leawere (Ngāti Porou) and Pouri Rakete-Stones (Ngāpuhi) who represent a wealth of experience, leadership and guidance in the squad.

Among the debutants is midfielder Daniel Rona (Te Ātiawa) and Highlanders loose forward Nikora Broughton (Ngā Rauru, Ngāti Ruanui).

The elusive first-five duo of Rivez Reihana (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) and Taha Kemara (Te Whānau a Apanui, Te Whakatōhea) will also bring plenty of speed and accuracy to the back line in their first campaign.

Māori All Blacks head coach Ross Filipo said it is an exciting time for all those involved.

“The Super Rugby Pacific campaign provided us with a solid platform to select from as the competitiveness shown by the players is exactly what we need against Japan XV. Our new players have been rewarded for their consistency and it’s great to see the return of many others to this environment.

“I’d like to congratulate every player in our squad on their selection. Playing for this team is a huge honour and this is an opportunity for us all to represent our whānau, heritage and country on the world stage,” Filipo said.

The squad was announced with support from New Zealand Māori Rugby Board representative Rob Clark (Waikato), who was accompanied by Māori All Blacks cultural advisor Te Wehi Wright (Ngāruahine, Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Whitikaupeka, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa, Ngāti Raukawa).

The Māori All Blacks have assembled in Auckland to start their campaign preparations before heading to Japan on Wednesday, June 26.

They will play their first match at Tokyo’s historic Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium on Saturday, June 29. The following match on Saturday, July 6 at Toyota Stadium, Toyota.


The 28-strong squad is as follows with (iwi, province and Super Rugby club).


Benet Kumeroa* (Te Atihaunui a Pāpārangi/Bay of Plenty/Hurricanes)

Joe Moody (Ngāi Tahu/Canterbury/Crusaders)

Marcel Renata (Ngāti Whanaunga, Ngāi Takoto/Auckland/Blues)

Ollie Norris (Ngāpuhi/Waikato/Chiefs)

Pouri Rakete-Stones (Ngāpuhi/Hawke’s Bay/Hurricanes)


Kurt Eklund (Ngāti Kahu/Bay of Plenty/Blues)

Tyrone Thompson (Ngāti Kahungunu/Chiefs)


Isaia Walker-Leawere (Ngāti Porou/Hawke’s Bay/Hurricanes)

Laghlan McWhannell* (Ngāti Kahungunu/Waikato/Blues)

Max Hicks (Ngāti Ranginui/Tasman/Highlanders)

Tahlor Cahill* (Ngāpuhi/Canterbury/Crusaders)


Billy Harmon (Ngāi Tahu/Canterbury/Highlanders)

Cameron Suafoa (Ngāpuhi/North Harbour/Blues)

Cullen Grace (Ngāti Whakaue/Canterbury/Crusaders)

Nikora Broughton* (Ngā Rauru, Ngāti Ruanui/Bay of Plenty/Highlanders)

Te Kamaka Howden (Tūhoe/Manawatū/Hurricanes)


Sam Nock (Ngāpuhi/Northland/Blues)

Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāti Pikiao, Tūhourangi, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Awa/Bay of Plenty/Chiefs)


Rivez Reihana* (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa/Northland/Crusaders)

Taha Kemara* (Te Whānau a Apanui, Te Whakatōhea/Waikato/Crusaders)


Bailyn Sullivan (Ngāti Kahungunu/Waikato/Hurricanes)

Corey Evans* (Te Aupouri, Ngāti Kahu/Northland/Blues)

Daniel Rona* (Te Ātiawa/Taranaki/Chiefs)

Rameka Poihipi (Ngāti Whakaue/Canterbury/Chiefs)

Quinn Tupaea (Ngaati Tiipa, Ngaati Amaru, Waikato/Waikato/Chiefs)


Cole Forbes* (Ngāti Awa/Bay of Plenty/Blues)

Josh Moorby (Ngāi Maniapoto/Waikato/Hurricanes)

Tana Tuhakaraina* (Ngāti Hauā/Waikato/Chiefs)

*denotes new caps

Unavailable for selection due to injury: Manaaki Selby-Rickit (Ngāti Raukawa), Shaun Stevenson (Ngāpuhi), Jared Profitt (Ngāti Porou)


Māori All Blacks vs Japan XV

Saturday, June 29, 10pm NZT (7pm JST)

Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium, Tokyo

Māori All Blacks vs Japan XV

Saturday, July 6, 9pm NZT (6pm JST)

Toyota Stadium, Toyota


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