June International Tours

Maoris ready to storm London

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New Zealand Maori coaches Donny Stevenson and Shane Howarth announced the New Zealand Maori squad for the 2007 Churchill Cup tournament in England on Tuesday, including Crusaders’ centre Rua Tipoki as captain despite a pending police investigation.

Tipoki was alleged to have been involved in a street brawl in Christchurch after the Crusaders v Chiefs Super 14 match at the start of May, for which he may face charges.

A total of 10 new players have been included in the squad for the tournament, which will be held from 18 May – 2 June.

Stevenson said the squad was well-balanced with a good mix of experienced players and newcomers.

“This is the beauty of this team, we are able to give young players the opportunity to play international rugby. A couple of the new players came to our attention during last year’s Air New Zealand Cup, which highlights the importance and value of this domestic competition,” Stevenson said.

The Churchill Cup tournament was previously held in North America but will this year be staged in England.

“There is an air of excitement about the change of venue. This is new territory for us but that is the exciting challenge. We hope that the strong expat Kiwi community in the UK will come out and support us,” Stevenson added.

It will be the first time since 1998 that New Zealand Maori will play in the United Kingdom after playing matches in Scotland that year, but British fans will remember the Maori team that defeated the British and Irish Lions on tour to New Zealand two years ago.

NZ Maori squad : Callum Bruce (Otago, Ngati Kahungunu), Keith Cameron (Otago, Te Whanau Apanui), Aled de Malmanche (Waikato, Tainui), Tamati Ellison (Wellington, Ngati Porou), Hosea Gear (Wellington, Ngati Porou), Brendan Haami (Taranaki, Te Ati Awa), Glen Horton (Otago, Tuwharetoa), Jason Kawau (Southland, Ngati Apa), Tanerau Latimer (Bay of Plenty, Ngai Te Rangi), Angus Macdonald (Auckland, Ngapuhi), Luke Mahoney (Wellington, Te Ati Awa), Ben May (Tasman, Tuhoe), Liam Messam (Waikato, Ngai Tuhoe), Kristian Ormsby (Counties Manukau, Ngati Maniapoto), Shannon Paku (Wellington, Ngai Tuhoe), Isaac Ross (Canterbury, Kai Tahu), Chris Smylie (Otago, Ngati Mutunga), Warren Smith (Bay of Plenty, Ngati Kahungunu), Dwayne Sweeney (Waikato, Tainui), Anthony Tahana (Bay of Plenty, Te Arawa), Pehi Te Whare (Southland, Ngati Maniapoto), Hayden Triggs (Manawatu, Ngati Kahungunu), Rua Tipoki (captain, Canterbury, Te Whanau Apanui), Hoani Tui (Wellington, Ngati Apa), Scott Waldrom (Taranaki, Ngati Porou), Craig West (Waikato, Ngati Apakura)

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