Topic: Rugby

Māori All Blacks team named for first test

The Māori All Blacks have named their team for their first test against Canada on Monday.

There are five new caps in the starting XV who are Zac Guildford, Kane Hames, Joe Wheeler, Liam Squire and Luke Braid. Another six new players have been named on the bench.

Te Kāea sports reporter Rewa Harriman who is following the team on the tour says she is not surprised at the selection, and describes it as a very experienced starting line-up. Most of those selected have played for the Mäori team before and there are a few new caps but the core have played at this level before, but just as important as the rugby is the haka and cultural sessions lead by the team's Cultural Advisor, Luke Crawford.

Haka sessions are very important and mean a lot to the team Piri Weepu says “from day one of selection before you even get your jersey you learn your Māori side”.

Despite Piri being away from the Māori team for five years, he's heavily involved in the haka and teaching the new boys the ropes.

But new prop Joe Royal (Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei/Te Arawa) doesn't need any help in this area, he says he was lucky enough to get brought up surrounded by the Māori culture and kapa haka.

Just like on the field training, the players will get more in tune with each other with more practice.

To expand further on the cultural sessions, the kaumatua of the team Luke Crawford joined Te Kāea to explain more about the sessions and the relevance they hold for the team.