TJ Perenara misses All Blacks squad - but could he make the Māori All Blacks?

By Mana Wikaire-Lewis

Two key Māori players, TJ Perenara (Te Arawa, Ngāti Rangitihi) and Brad Weber (Ngāti Porou) have been left out of the All Blacks squad for the upcoming 2022 Steinlager Series tests against Ireland.

New Zealand Rugby director Bailey Mackey announced the 36-strong squad today for the first test which will take place at a sold-out Eden Park on Saturday 2 July.

Despite not making the All Blacks selection, there’s speculation that Perenara and Weber could make the Māori All Blacks instead. 

The Māori side gets the first opportunity to take on the Irish competition on Wednesday 29 June in Hamilton, before the All Blacks' clash on the following Saturday. Bailey Mackey says the Māori All Blacks squad will be named later this week.

Above: The new players hoping to kick off ABs careers in the upcoming 2022 Steinlager series against Ireland.

35-year-old Dane Coles did make the squad, showing age is just a number and experience counts. The Ngāti Porou hooker has racked up 100 points, 20 tries and 81 test matches in his international rugby career.

Codie Taylor (Ngāti Raukawa, Muaūpoko) joins Coles in the hookers. Chiefs mid-fielder Quinn Tupaea (Tainui) makes it in for a second year and Ngāti Kahungunu halfback Aaron Smith also got the call up. The Ioane brothers, Akira (loose forward) and Rieko (mid-fielder) of Ngāpuhi and Te Whānau-a-Apanui close out the six Māori players selected to represent Aotearoa.

Forwards

Hookers:
Dane Coles (Hurricanes, Wellington)
Codie Taylor (Crusaders, Canterbury)
Samisoni Taukei’aho (Chiefs, Waikato)

Props:
Aidan Ross* (Chiefs, Bay of Plenty)
George Bower (Crusaders, Otago)
Nepo Laulala (Blues, Counties Manukau)
Ofa Tuungafasi (Blues, Northland)
Karl Tu’inukuafe (Blues, North Harbour)
Angus Ta’avao (Chiefs, Auckland)

Locks:
Samuel Whitelock (Crusaders, Canterbury)
Brodie Retallick (Chiefs, Hawkes Bay)
Scott Barrett (Crusaders, Taranaki)
Josh Lord (Chiefs, Taranaki)
Tupou Vaa’i (Chiefs, Taranaki)

Loose Forwards:
Pita Gus Sowakula* (Chiefs, Taranaki)
Sam Cane – Captain (Chiefs, Bay of Plenty)
Dalton Papalii (Blues, Counties Manukau)
Ardie Savea (Hurricanes, Wellington)
Akira Ioane (Blues, Auckland)
Hoskins Sotutu (Blues, Counties Manukau)

Backs

Halfbacks:
Folau Fakatava* (Highlanders, Hawkes Bay)
Aaron Smith (Highlanders, Manawatu)
Finlay Christie (Blues, Tasman)

First five-eighths:
Stephen Perofeta* (Blues, Taranaki)
Beauden Barrett (Blues, Taranaki)
Richie Mo’unga (Crusaders, Canterbury)

Mid-fielders:
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck* (Blues, Auckland)
Quinn Tupaea (Chiefs, Waikato)
Jack Goodhue (Crusaders, Northland)
Rieko Ioane (Blues, Auckland)
David Havili (Crusaders, Tasman)

Outside backs:
Leicester Fainga’anuku* (Crusaders, Tasman)
Jordie Barrett (Hurricanes, Taranaki)
Will Jordan (Crusaders, Tasman)
Caleb Clarke (Blues, Auckland)
Sevu Reece (Crusaders, Tasman)