TJ Perenara makes the NZ Māori All Blacks for the first time

By Mana Wikaire-Lewis

Find out who will wear the Māori All Black jersey on June 29. 

Two days ago TJ Perenara was passed over for the All Blacks. But that’s the NZ Māori All Blacks gain and Perenara will play for the team for the first time later this month.

Coach Clayton McMillan named the veteran halfback in his 28-strong squad for the upcoming two-game series against Ireland. 

Halfback Brad Weber will join Perenara, alongside first fives Josh Ioane (Te Rārawa) and another first-timer, Ruben Love (Te Ātiawa).

Tyrel Lomax (Muaupoko, Tūhoe) will also bring his experience to the Māori side. 


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Nine others are making their debut: Jermaine Ainsley (Te Rārawa, Te Arawa), Tyrone Thompson (Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, Ngāti Rangiwewehi), Caleb Delany (Ngāti Tūwharetoa), Te Kamaka Howden (Tūhoe), Cameron Suafoa (Ngāpuhi), Bailyn Sullivan (Ngāti Kahungunu), Zarn Sullivan (Ngāti Kahungunu), Josh Moorby (Ngāti Maniapoto) and Connor Garden-Bachop (Ngāti Awa).

McMillan and assistant coaches Roger Randle and Chris Gibbes have yet to decide who will captain the team.

Two former Māori All Blacks are playing for Ireland through the three-year residency rule, Jamison Gibson-Park (Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tai) and James Lowe (Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Te Rangi).

It’s been 12 years since Ireland played a Māori side and the two mid-week games will take place in Hamilton on June 29 then Wellington on July 12. 

Māori All Blacks Full Squad

Tamaiti Williams (Ngāpuhi)
Ollie Norris (Ngāpuhi)
Marcel Renata (Ngāti Whānaunga, Ngāi Takoto)
Jermaine Ainsley* (Te Rārawa, Te Arawa)
Tyrel Lomax (Muaupoko, Ngāi Tūhoe)

Leni Apisai (Ngāti Awa)
Kurt Eklund (Ngāti Kahu)
Tyrone Thompson* (Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, Ngāti Rangiwewehi)

Isaia Walker-Leawere (Ngāti Porou)
Manaaki Selby-Rickit (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa)
Josh Dickson (Ngāi Tahu)

Loose Forwards:
Reed Prinsep (Te Rārawa)
Caleb Delany* (Ngāti Tūwharetoa)
Billy Harmon (Ngāi Tahu)
Te Kamaka (TK) Howden* (Ngāi Tūhoe)
Cameron Suafoa* (Ngāpuhi)

Half Backs:
TJ Perenara* (Ngāti Rangitihi)
Brad Weber (Ngāti Porou)

First Five:
Josh Ioane (Te Rārawa)
Ruben Love* (Te Atiawa)

Alex Nankivell (Ngāti Pikiao)
Rameka Poihipi (Ngāti Whakaue)
Billy Proctor (Ngāi Te Rangi / Ngāpuhi)
Bailyn Sullivan* (Ngāti Kahungunu)

Outside Backs:

Connor Garden-Bachop* (Ngāti Awa)
Josh Moorby* (Ngāti Maniapoto)
Zarn Sullivan* (Ngāti Kahungunu)
Shaun Stevenson (Ngāpuhi)