Is this the next great All Black prop?

Rising frontrower Tyrel Lomax, who snubbed the Wallabies this year, is one of 10 new players in the New Zealand Maori side to tour Canada and France.

The 21-year-old Lomax, who comes from a famous Kiwi league family, played for the Melbourne Rebels this year but quit Michael Cheika's initial 48-man Wallaby squad to return to New Zealand.

The 127-kg tighthead is contracted to the Highlanders and has been playing for Mitre 10 Cup finalists Tasman. His departure was a bitter blow to Australian rugby - he had been a key member of their under-20 side.


Lomax has reportedly already been mentioned in dispatches by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

Tyrel's father John was a tough league prop of rare ball-playing skill who rose from the Wainuiomata and Wellington teams to play 16 tests for the Kiwis in the 1990s when he also had a stellar career with the glamourous Tim Sheens-coached Canberra Raiders.

Uncle David Lomax also played briefly for the Kiwis. Brothers John, David, Arnold and Tony were mainstays of the Wainuiomata team which made such an impact during that time.

Tyrel's pedigree is exceptional. John Lomax was so good that he was named the Raiders player of the year in 1994, in a team which included Mal Meninga, Ricky Stuart, Laurie Daley, Bradley Clyde and plenty more superstars.

It was a bitter sweet season as he was suspended out of the grand final for a high tackle in the preliminary final and Lomax subsequently claimed his player-of-the-year award was a "sympathy vote".

Tyrel was brought up in Wellington, before the Lomax family shifted to Canberra where oldest son Sheen was a promising Raiders junior until a shoulder injury intervened.
Tyrel has played both codes, but ended up in union via his Catholic schooling in Australia.

Earlier this year, a Sydney Telegraph headline read: "Rising Australian rugby star Tyrel Lomax could be poached by All Blacks."

There was even a suggestion that Wallabies coach Michael Cheika might hand the 21-year-old Lomax a test jumper this year, as the trans Tasman battle for his services emerge.


Lomax said: "I grew up in New Zealand and as an aspiring rugby player the chance to play for a NZ Super Rugby club was too good an opportunity to turn down."