Rugby: Five new caps named in Maori All Blacks side

Ambrose Curtis will make his debut for the Maori All Blacks.
Ambrose Curtis will make his debut for the Maori All Blacks.

Head Coach Colin Cooper has made seven changes to the Maori All Blacks' run-on side to face Irish club side Munster.

The side includes five new caps - Reed Prinsep, Billy Guyton and Ambrose Curtis who will start, while Under 20s captain Leni Apisai and Waikato skipper Whetu Douglas will make their debuts off the bench.

Cooper said the win over the USA last week was satisfying but they were also looking forward to the unique experience of playing in Limerick.

"Our exit plays last week were particularly good and I thought that was the edge that we had over the US. We played a lot of rugby in their half.

"But I think that Munster being another physical pack, particularly at lineout driving time, we will want to play the game in their half.

"We're expecting a lot of physicality down the back so we'll be looking to our bench to make an impact.

"This match is a huge game. I think every player at some stage in their career would like to play Munster in Limerick. We certainly saw the passion of the people here and the stadium being sold out, Ireland beating the All Blacks at the weekend - it's got everyone pretty hummed so it will be a mighty contest," Cooper said.

Expecting the Irish to get behind their team, Cooper said he was expecting some intense noise at Thomond Park Stadium.

"The crowd is like an extra, the 24th person. They are very vocal and very passionate so it will be a challenge for us.

"I've always admired Munster from afar. The people here are pretty passionate, and certainly people here know New Zealand and they know these players - they are very respectful people.

"This game is going to be special. I've always admired Munster from afar and now I'm going to be at the coalface of taking on Munster, it will be a great experience and opportunity to lead such good men like we've got in this group."

1Kane Hames
2Ash Dixon (Capt)
3Ben May
4Leighton Price
5Tom Franklin
6Reed Prinsep *
7Shane Christie
8Akira Ioane
9Billy Guyton *
10Otere Black
11James Lowe
12Tim Bateman
13Matt Proctor
14Ambrose Curtis *
15Marty McKenzie

16Leni Apisai *
17Chris Eves
18Marcel Renata
19Whetu Douglas *
20Kara Pryor
21Brad Weber
22Ihaia West
23Jason Emery

- NZ Herald

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