Three Bay of Plenty forwards have been named in the Maori All Blacks side by new head coach Clayton McMillan.

Keepa Mewett, Liam Polwart, Tom Franklin are part of the 27-man squad to play Canada in Vancouver on November 3 and the French Barbarians in Bordeaux on November 10.

McMillan said the full squad of 27 included a group of new, but not inexperienced talent.

With players either moving offshore, or earning selection to the All Blacks, the squad takes on a very different look from the Maori All Blacks side that played against the British & Irish Lions in June.


Those selected for the first time are Bay of Plenty's Polwart and Mewett, Northland's Ross Wright, Waikato's Jordan Manihera, Counties Manukau's Sam Henwood, Tasman's Tyrell Lomax, Manawatu's Jackson Hemopo, Wellington's Jackson Garden-Bachop, Otago's Jonathan Ruru and Teihorangi Walden.

Former Tauranga Boys' College student Jarrad Hoeata has also made the squad.

"Many of our players have displayed outstanding form in the Mitre 10 Cup, and this tour gives them a great opportunity to step up another level again," McMillan said.

"We're really proud that the likes of Damian McKenzie, Rieko Ioane, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Kane Hames have all earned time in the All Blacks environment - as it shows the strength of Maori talent in New Zealand. But we now also have an opportunity to uncover other emerging Maori talent for the black jersey.

"We are fortunate to have Ash Dixon return as captain. He is the heart of our pack and his leadership, both on and off the field, steers the team's special character."

Having coached Bay of Plenty to a Mitre 10 Cup Championship finals berth, and the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians against the British & Irish Lions earlier this year, McMillan is embarking on his first campaign with the Maori team in a new chapter for the tea, and for himself.

"This short tour is a great opportunity to take the Maori All Blacks to new audiences. It's only the second time we have played Canada and it will be our first visit to Vancouver.

"Our match against the French Barbarians opens what will be a special weekend of rugby in France, as we play in Bordeaux on the eve of the All Blacks Test match against France in Paris.

"I'm very proud to be part of this team, and I am excited about what the next few weeks will bring," he said.

The Maori All Blacks assemble in Auckland this week ahead of travel on Sunday. Players involved in Mitre 10 Cup finals will join the squad after those matches.

Maori All Blacks squad:

Backs: Ambrose Curtis, Sean Wainui, Charlie Ngatai, Teihorangi Walden, Rob Thompson, Tim Bateman, Ihaia West, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Brad Weber, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Jonathan Ruru.
Forwards: Akira Ioane, Jordan Manihera, Sam Henwood, Dan Pryor, Tom Franklin, Jackson Hemopo, Jarrad Hoeata, Keepa Mewett, Chris Eves, Ross Wright, Marcel Renata, Tyrel Lomax, Ash Dixon (capt), Liam Polwart.