For Joseph Royal being selected again in the Maori All Blacks means more to him than he can portray in a few well-crafted sentences.

It is the epitome of everything that matters to the 31-year-old Bay of Plenty hooker.

"It is one of those jerseys that you die for really," said.

"You just put everything on the line to see the legacy of that jersey succeed.


"For me wearing that jersey means the world to me because it is has the backing of my family, my iwi and pretty much everything that represents me is in that jersey."

Royal, born in Rotorua of Te Arawa and Ngati Whatua descent, first played for the Maori All Blacks in 2013.

Last year he was given an unofficial kaumatua role to teach the younger players in the team about the haka - not just how to perform it but the meaning behind it.

"Obviously you have a team kaumatua and you don't want to take too much away from what he does with the boys," Royal said.

"I thought it was a huge honour being asked to help him out and I guess look after the haka which is something special to the team. You just feel honoured to be asked with something that is sacred and I felt quite privileged actually."

The Maori All Blacks leave for Chicago on Sunday for a game against the USA Eagles before taking on proud Ireland province Munster and a final game against Harlequins at Twickenham Stoop in London.

Royal is looking forward to all three games equally but would love to get some game time against the Eagles.

You just feel honoured to be asked with something that is sacred and I felt quite privileged actually.


"I will be keen to play the US again as that was my first cap against the Eagles.

"Munster is a pretty proud Irish club and they have a history of beating the All Blacks back in [1978]. No doubt they will be looking for another scalp so that will be another big game to be part of."

Royal will be battling captain Ash Dixon and debutant Leni Apisai for game time at hooker.

"It is tough to say how much game time I will get but it will be harder with Ash being skipper. I am here to do my part for the team and help Ash with the leadership side of the team.

"If I get the opportunity to get on the field it will just be a huge honour. I am privileged and thankful to be named in the squad again."

Royal regained his best form with Bay of Plenty in the second half of the Mitre 10 Cup after missing some earlier games with a broken thumb.

"I thought I'd done well to come back from injury in the back end of the season. I thought I played my role to the best I could for the team in that last part of the season where we were able to win games.

"We had high hopes for us to do well this year but we had those close losses. I guess it is just one of those years.

"The boys will take a lot of learnings out of what happened this year and hopefully they can push on for next year."