Rugby: Son shares Magpie flanker's joy

By Shane Hurndell

If 3-year-old Kalani Lowe was a little surprised by his father's elation when he collected him from kindergarten yesterday it was for a good reason.

As Hawke's Bay Magpies rugby flanker Lowe and the second oldest of his three children were getting into the car yours truly was relaying news of Lowe's selection in the Maori All Black team for next month's tour to England.

It was Lowe's second taste of selection in the Maori side as he was a member of the unbeaten 2010 team which won their centenary series.

"Making the Maori side was one of the goals I set at the start of the season. Another was to complete the ITM Cup season and to play all 10 games after recovering from the knee injury I got in the Super season was a big plus. There are so many special things which go with being named in the Maori team," Lowe, 28, said.

The Clive club player who has played 91 first class games for the Magpies and been a Hurricane since 2009 agreed there will be plenty of competition for the No.7 jersey during the Maori team's tour.

"I won't mind the No.6 jersey if I get it ... as long as I am starting," he added.

After being pipped by Wellington and Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles for a berth in the All Blacks Magpies hooker Hika Elliot has predictably joined Lowe in the Maori All Blacks.

Magpies coach Craig Philpott said while it would have been great to have Elliot back in the All Blacks alongside Magpies fullback Israel Dagg but he was confident Elliot would make the most of his opportunities on the Maori tour. Philpott was thrilled to see Lowe named in the Maori team.

"Karl had some great performances for us this season and fully deserved his selection," Philpott said.

Magpies winger Zac Guildford missed selection in the Maori team because of his hamstring injury.

"I got checked out by the Maori team's doctor and also went down to Christchurch to see the Crusaders physio and I'm still three or four weeks away from being fully fit," Guildford said.

While Elliot and Lowe are the only Magpies the tour squad includes Te Aute College product and former Hawke's Bay age group team halfback Frae Wilson of Wellington and Chiefs and Waikato lock Romana Graham, a son of a former Magpies lock with the same name.

Chiefs and Bay of Plenty flanker Tanerau Latimer will captain the Maori All Blacks. Coach Jamie Joseph said he was delighted with the calibre of his team.

"The Maori All Blacks are a unique team and we feel very privileged to be part of this special campaign," Joseph said.

"We are very excited about this tour to England as the programme offers an excellent opportunity to display the depth of talent we have."

The team will leave for Europe on November 6 and play three matches against Leicester Tigers, an RFU Championship XV, and Canada in England.

"Taking on the Leicester Tigers and the unique Championship XV at home will be a challenge for us, especially knowing that the home advantage will be a huge factor for them," Joseph said.

"We are looking forward to the challenge and I know these young men selected today will rise to the occasion."

Joseph said Latimer was an ideal choice to captain the side.

"We have selected Tanerau as captain for his perfect mix of talent and leadership on and off the field - and we have seen him put both to good use in this year's ITM Cup."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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