Chiefs prop Ollie Norris represents the new breed of rugby players to play for the Māori All Blacks. The 21-year old was named as only one of two debutants for the Māori All Blacks, where he is joined by Highlanders loose forward Josh Dickson to make their debuts.
"I'm still buzzing aye, I'm still super pumped for it, still excited for it. I wasn't really expecting a phone call, and yesterday when I got it I was pretty stoked, and it's going to be awesome representing my whānau."
"I'm still pretty new to the front row. It's probably my biggest work on so far, and what I have to learn the most. But also just being a young player out there with a bunch of older dudes."
Māori All Blacks coach Clayton McMillan has named a 25-man squad ahead of two matches against Manu Samoa. The Māori All Blacks played just one match in 2020, scoring a 28-21 victory over Moana Pasifika in Hamilton.
"I'm ecstatic that there is another opportunity to play on home soil, it's a bit of a luxury really, coming out of the back of Covid-19, that we get to play at home."
On July 3 at Mount Smart Stadium, an historic moment in world rugby will take place with the Māori All Blacks as well the All Blacks playing at the same ground.
McMillan backs the idea that the Māori All Black players take part in the All Blacks haka before the match against Tonga.
"Look, if that's something that the All Blacks are keen for us to do, we'd certainly be up for it. But I think also it's just a fantastic opportunity to celebrate rugby in New Zealand."
Their first game against Samoa will be at Sky Stadium in Wellington on Saturday, June 26. They wrap up in the Māori All Blacks vs Samoa/All Blacks vs Tonga double-header at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday, July 3.
Josh Hohneck (Otago- Ngāti Manuhiri / Ngāti Whātua)
Pouri Rakete-Stones (Hawkes Bay - Ngāpuhi)
Ollie Norris* (Waikato - Ngāpuhi)
Marcel Renata (Auckland - Ngāti Whānaunga / Ngāi Takoto)
Tamaiti Williams (Canterbury - Ngāpuhi)
Ash Dixon [kāpene] (Hawkes Bay - Ngāti Tahinga)
Kurt Eklund (Bay of Plenty- Ngāti Kahu)
Manaaki Selby-Rickit (Bay Of Plenty - Ngāti Raukawa / Ngāti Tūwharetoa)
Isaia Walker-Leawere (Hawkes Bay - Ngāti Porou)
Pari Pari Parkinson (Tasman - Te Whānau ā Apanui)
Josh Dickson* (Otago - Ngāi Tahu)
Billy Harmon (Canterbury - Ngāi Tahu)
Reed Prinsep (Canterbury -Te Rārawa)
Whetukamokamo Douglas (Bay of Plenty - Ngāti Porou / Ngāti Whakaue)
Bryn Hall (North Harbour - Ngāti Ranginui)
Sam Nock (Northland - Ngāpuhi)
Otere Black (Bay of Plenty - Ngāi Tuhoe/Te Whānau ā Apanui/Ngāti Tūwharetoa)
Josh Ioane (Otago - Te Rārawa)
Billy Proctor (Wellington - Ngāi Te Rangi / Ngāpuhi)
Quinn Tupaea (Waikato - Waikato)
Alex Nankivell (Tasman - Ngāpuhi)
Sean Wainui (Bay of Plenty - Ngāi Tuhoe / Ngā Arikikaiputahi / Ngāti Porou)
Shaun Stevenson (North Harbour - Ngāpuhi)
Jonah Lowe (Hawkes Bay - Ngāti Pikiao)
Kaleb Trask (Bay of Plenty - Ngāpuhi)