Experience to lead new look Maori side
New Zealand Maori coach Jamie Joseph has named four All Blacks in his pack to play English club Leicester tomorrow. But that experience is offset by 11 new faces among his match-day 22.
Skipper Tanerau Latimer, hooker Hika Elliot and locks Jason Eaton and Jarrad Hoeata have all played for the All Blacks.
The newcomers are with Shane Christie, Elliot Dixon, Frae Wilson, Kade Poki, Charlie Ngatai and Kurt Baker who are all given a start.
Andre Taylor, Quentin MacDonald, Nick Crosswell, Jamieson Gibson-Park, and Declan O'Donnell are on the bench.
"We have a great group of talented players, and we have selected what we think is a very strong team," said Joseph.
"While many in our squad are new to the Maori All Blacks environment, we know that they are experienced Investec Super Rugby and ITM Cup campaigners who we know will be competitive on the field.
"Playing Leicester in front of their home crowd will be something special, and we're really looking forward to this hit-out."
This is the first of three matches the Maori side will play in England.
Leicester have named a strong side. Louis Deacon is back to captain the Tigers, while fellow internationals Mathew Tait, George Chuter, Jordan Crane, Geordan Murphy and Anthony Allen, if he isn’t required by England squad, are also in the 23.
The Tigers will wear lettered shirts which will also carry the Poppy Appeal logo.
The shirts will be auctioned online by the club to raise funds for the annual Royal British Legion Poppy appeal.
NZ Maori: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Kurt Baker, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Kade Poki, 10 Willie Ripia, 9 Frae Wilson, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 Tanerau Latimer (c), 6 Shane Christie, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Ben May. Reserves: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Jacob Ellison, 18 Bronson Murray, 19 Romana Graham, 20 Nick Crosswell, 21 Jamieson Gibson-Park, 22 Jackson Willison, 23 Declan O'Donnell.
Leicester Tigers: 0 Mathew Tait, N Niall Morris, M Matt Smith, L Anthony Allen, K Adam Thompstone, J George Ford, I Patrick Phibbs, H Julian Salvi, G Jordan Crane, F Ed Slater, E Graham Kitchener, D Louis Deacon (c), C Fraser Balmain, B George Chuter, A Boris Stankovich. Reserves: P Jonny Harris, Q Jimmy Stevens, R Kieran Brookes, S Michael Noone, T Richard Thorpe, U Sam Harrison, V Dan Bowden, W Geordan Murphy.