The Black Sox squad for 2015 has recently been named and Ngāti Porou's Nathan Nukunuku is once again standing as captain.
He spoke to Te Kāea today of his admiration for the new, young blood who have made the team.
Despite months of trainings, only the best were picked for this year’s squad.
Nathan Nukunuku says, “If you are one of the selectors, you've really got to stand out to make it in there and I think one tournament makes a world series player. The whole season would contribute to them making the team."
The 17-man squad was named early this morning, with 6 new, young faces being added to the mix.
"It's exciting with the kids we've got in there. Obviously they are untested at that level and that's up to the guys that have been there to bring them through," says Nukunuku.
Most of the team members competed in last week’s national championships here in Auckland and although some haven't played at this level as yet, they will bring natural talent to the team.
Nukunuku says, "It’s a double edged sword in the fact that sure they haven't had that experience but then teams playing us don't know who they are as well."
Nukunuku has been in the team now for over 15 years and has witnessed the development of the younger players, throughout the years.
"We’ve had the same core group for 3, 4 years and every time we get a new guy it always brings in that excitement," says Nukunuku.
The likes of Nukunuku and Brad Rona are the more experienced Māori players, and this year it is up to them to pave the way for the newbies.
Nukunuku says, "The youngsters will follow in our footsteps and we just have to make sure that those foot steps are going in the right direction."