The Whanganui Maori selectors have gone with another young-looking side they hope will be able to hang onto the Tuera Shield as they begin preparations next week for three games to end 2017.

There are eight survivors from the Maori squad which lost 36-22 to Wellington's Te Upoko O Te Ika at the Te Tini A Maui tournament in Masterton back on March 12.

Mitre 10 Heartland Championship selection, injuries and players shifting provinces have accounted for some of the others.

As is standard for the end-of-season representative fixtures, Maori manager Justin Lock said he first approached players with whakapapa (ancestry) from the Wanganui Under 20 and Wanganui Development teams, who both won their championships recently.


Those players have had the most recent game time, and after them, the coaching staff searched out others who had already played for Whanganui Maori to fill the remaining gaps.

In addition, coaches Dennis Tucker and Cornel Mason have come on board to assist Lock and head coach Vaan Rauhina.

The squad will train on Thursdays for the next three weeks.

Their first game will be the Heartland curtain-raiser match against Marton Samoans at Cooks Gardens on September 30, with the new-look Samoans being a challenge as they held Wanganui Development to a 19-19 draw in Bulls back in August.

The next match on October 7 will be the big test - defending the 121-year-old Tuera Shield at New Plymouth's Yarrow Stadium against Taranaki Maori.

Whanganui shocked Taranaki last year at Cooks Gardens - winning 43-12 to lift the Shield for what was believed to be the first time since 1989.

After that, Whanganui Maori will conclude their campaign against Manawatu Maori at Cooks Gardens on October 14.

The team is

Forwards: Wiremu Cottrell, Josh Hirini, Blade Jones, Keanu Puki-Kaa, Joe Edwards, Jack Hodges, Christian Hawira, Shaquille McKay, Dale Pene, Dale Akuhata, Kieran Hussey, Cade Robinson.

Backs: Kahl Elers-Green, Cameron Davies, Josh Fifita, Te Tua Kemp, Grayson Tihema, Ethan Robinson, Jaye Flaws, Troy Brown, Isaiah Hooper, Lachlan Blackstock, Shaquille Waara, Te Rangitapu McLeod.