Topic: Rugby

Crunch time for Māori players aiming for RWC 2015

By Ripeka Timutimu

It's crunch time for Māori rugby players looking to don an All Black jersey at this year's RWC.

Coach Steve Hansen and his selectors make their squad announcement this Sunday at Parliament.

Given the strength of the local Māori Hurricanes players this year, Te Kāea spoke to rugby commentator Brian Morris on which Hurricanes he thought would make the cut. 

He was the new kid on the block in this year's Super 15 comp. But his hard work on the field sees Nehe Milner-Skudder on the brink of securing a black jersey for the Rugby World Cup.

Brian Morris says, "I predict that Nehe Milner-Skudder will get through.  He's new, he's talented, he's fast. He has a different style of play."

Eight weeks ago, 41 players were selected to trial for the All Blacks' RWC squad.  Whilst some have shone, others like Cory Jane have suffered from injury. 

"One fullback will go and that's Ben Smith. If they send two then Israel Dagg may get a look in, but he hasn't quite hit his straps like in previous years," says Morris.

So Cory Jane is now on the outskirts of the team, though he's been working hard to impress on the paddock for his Lions side.

"Cory Jane will be watched carefully, but I'm not sure about Naholo," adds Morris.

Morris believes Dane Coles and TJ Perenara will make the squad, this will be a huge boost for the Hurricanes after a successful season, however RWC is another step up.    

Morris says, "They've got a big task ahead of them. We've seen in previous years when they've struggled, like when we lost against France.  They'll need to get up and give it their all."

Steve Hansen will name his team this Sunday, and we'll see which of the Māori players made the cut.