Three Bay of Plenty players rugby players have been named in the Māori All Blacks squad to face Fiji in the home and away series this month.
Bay players in the squad include the Highlanders' Tom Franklin, the Chiefs' Mitchell Karpik and new cap Nathan Harris (Chiefs). Chiefs halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, from Rotorua, is also in the team.
Other new caps include Alex Nankivell, Fletcher Smith and Jordan Hyland.
Māori All Blacks head coach Clayton McMillan said the squad named was an exciting mix of vast experience and new energy.
"This is a really exciting squad to name. I think we have a good balance between the experience of guys who know how to perform at this level, and those who bring an important fresh perspective and energy. We also have some returning after an absence and they will bring some important knowledge into our group," McMillan says.
"With six players (Harris, Lomax, Dixon, Ioane, Hall and Tahuriorangi) in our mix with All Blacks experience, we can take a very solid squad to Suva and then on to Rotorua.
A total of 26 players have been named for the series and McMillan says one more, likely to be a prop, is to be added before the team travels next week.
"Pulling on the Māori All Blacks jersey is a wonderful opportunity, and I know that these players will want to represent their heritage, their whānau and their country well. These next two fixtures will allow players to showcase what they have, and really put their best foot forward for higher honours."
McMillan says the team is looking forward to playing Fiji in Suva and then again in Rotorua.
"They're a fantastic and exciting opposition who play a similar game to the Māori All Blacks. We know they'll be looking to use this series as preparation for their Rugby World Cup campaign.
"For some time we've been coveting a strong international opposition, and Fiji certainly fits that bill. We're looking forward to the challenge of playing Fiji in back to back fixtures.
"I'm very excited about coaching a Māori team that is playing in Rotorua – what we consider to be the sentimental home of the Māori All Blacks."
Ash Dixon - Ngāti Tahinga (Hawke's Bay/Highlanders).
Nathan Harris - Ngāti Apakura /Tainui (Bay of Plenty/Chiefs).
Tyrel Lomax - Ngāi Tuhoe/Muaupoko (Tasman/Highlanders).
Ben May - Ngāti Maniapoto (Hawke's Bay/Hurricanes).
Marcel Renata - Ngāti Whānaunga/Ngāi Takoto (Auckland/Blues).
Ross Wright - Ngāti Whatua/Ngāti Porou (Northland/Blues).
Tom Franklin - Ngāti Maniapoto (Bay of Plenty/Highlanders).
Pari Pari Parkinson - Te Whānau ā Apanui (Tasman/Highlanders).
Isaia Walker-Leawere - Ngāti Porou (Hawke's Bay/Hurricanes).
Whetukamokamo Douglas - Ngāti Porou/Ngati Whakaue (Canterbury/Crusaders).
Elliot Dixon - Ngāpuhi (Southland/Highlanders).
Akira Ioane - Ngāpuhi/Te Whānau ā Apanui (Auckland/Blues).
Mitchell Karpik - Rongomaiwahine/Ngāti Kahungunu (Bay of Plenty/Chiefs).
Reed Prinsep - Te Rārawa (Canterbury/Hurricanes).
Bryn Hall - Ngāti Ranginui (North Harbour/Crusaders).
Jonathan Ruru - Ngāti Kahungunu/Rongomaiwāhine (Auckland/Blues)
Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi - Ngāti Pikiao (Taranaki/Chiefs).
Otere Black - Ngāi Tuhoe/Te Whānau ā Apanui/Ngāti Tūwharetoa (Manawatu/Blues).
Jackson Garden-Bachop - Ngāti Awa (Wellington/Hurricanes).
Fletcher Smith - Ngāti Kahungunu (Waikato/Hurricanes).
Alex Nankivell - Ngāpuhi (Tasman/Chiefs).
Rob Thompson - Ngāti Kahungunu/Ngā Rauru (Manawatu/Highlanders).
Teihorangi Walden - Te Atiawa (Taranaki/Highlanders).
Jordan Hyland - Ngāi Tahu (Northland/Highlanders).
Shaun Stevenson - Ngāpuhi (North Harbour/Chiefs).
Sean Wainui - Ngāi Tuhoe/Ngāti Porou (Taranaki/Chiefs).
Māori All Blacks Schedule:
Saturday July 13
ANZ Stadium, Suva
Saturday July 20
Rotorua International Stadium