Five changes to Māori ABs team for second Fiji game

By James Perry

Clayton McMillan has kept the same 23 that played in the 10-27 loss in Suva on Saturday, but five players make their way from the bench to the starting 15.

The changes see lock Pari Pari Parkinson swap places with Isaia Walker-Leawere and Crusaders duo Whetukamokamo Douglas and Bryn Hall take their places in the starting side at the expense of Akira Ioane and Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi respectively.

Alex Nankivell had an impressive game last week off the bench and has been rewarded with a start at second five, with Teihorangi Walden making way.

Last week's fullback Fletcher Smith finds himself in the reserves, with Jordan Hyland earning a start on the right wing and Shaun Stevenson moving to fullback. 

McMillan says some of the changes are a direct result of the Suva game.  He says it's important they get off to a better start this week than they did last week and he is looking for bigger bodies in the forward pack.

Due to their involvement with the Crusaders Super Rugby final victory two weeks ago, Douglas and Hall only joined the squad on the day they flew out to FIji.  McMillan feels they are ready to start in this week's game.

Ngāti Whakaue and Ngāti Porou descendant, Douglas is looking forward to running out in front of his whānau in Rotorua this weekend.  He says a "busload" of whānau are making the journey over from Ngāti Porou and they have booked a marae in Rotorua for the weekend to watch him play. 

Hall, (Ngāi Te Rangi) is also expecting many of his whānau to make the comparatively short trip from Tauranga Moana to the game this week as well. 

The game kicks off at 7.30pm on Saturday night, with the Māori under 20's playing against Fiji in the curtain-raiser at 5pm. 

The team is:

1             Ross Wright                                      Ngati Whatua / Ngati Porou

2             Ash Dixon (C)                                   Ngati Tahinga

3             Tyrel Lomax                                      Ngai Tuhoe / Muaupoko

4             Tom Franklin                                     Ngati Maniapoto


5             Pari Pari Parkinson                          Te Whanau a Apanui

6             Reed Prinsep                                    Te Rarawa

7             Mitch Karpik                                     Rongomaiwahine / Ngati Kahungunu

8             Whetukamokamo Douglas           Ngati Porou / Ngati Whakaue

               Bryn Hall                                           Ngati Ranginui

10           Otere Black                                       Ngai Tuhoe / Te Whanau a Apanui / Ngati Tuwharetoa

11           Sean Wainui                                     Ngai Tuhoe/Te Aitanga a Mahaki/NgaArikikaiputahi/ Ngati Porou

12           Alex Nankivell                                  Ngapuhi

13           Rob Thompson                                 Ngati Kahungunu / Nga Rauru

14           Jordan Hyland                                  Ngai Tahu

15           Shaun Stevenson                             Ngapuhi


16           Nathan Harris                                   Ngati Hikairo / Waikato Tainui

17 =       Haereiti Hetet                                  Ngati Maniapoto

17=        Pouri Rakete-Stones                       Ngapuhi

18           Marcel Renata                                 Ngati Whanaunga / Ngai Takoto

19           Isaia Walker-Leawere                    Ngati Porou

20           Akira Ioane                                      Ngapuhi / Te Whanau a Apanui

21           Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi                  Ngati Pikiao

22           Fletcher Smith                                Ngati Kahungunu

23           Teihorangi Walden                        Te Atiawa